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Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
Christine Keleny’s Intrigue in Istanbul, An Agnes Kelly Mystery Adventure is the American version of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce. It begins with the early death of Agnes’ father while he is away on a business trip. Agnes is puzzled by something her Uncle Bob starts to say at the funeral, but Grandma Agee silences him and distracts Agnes with an invitation to travel with her to Istanbul “for company.” The basis of the story is tragic, but it twists and turns through the mysterious plot and the captivating streets of Istanbul.
Intrigue in Istanbul by Christine Keleny is any parent or teacher’s dream book, packed with accurate facts put over so vividly that youngsters are likely to remember them. She even contrives to include phonetic pronunciations of many long words without being in the least boring; Agnes enjoys languages and finding out the origins of proverbs and quotes. Pre-teen children are going to absolutely love Intrigue in Istanbul. Dad died in “suspicious circumstances” so Grandma Agee isn’t the innocent tourist she purports to be. Everything Agnes sees or encounters is coloured by her thoughts and feelings. My personal favourites among Agnes’ experiences are her first flight when the plane runs into a storm and her visit to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, but every reader will have their own. Buy this book for your children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces, but be sure to read it before you tackle gift wrapping. How else will you ever find out what Agnes discovers from the one-sided telephone conversation she hears when she applies an inverted glass to a bedroom door?