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Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite
“Martin McMillan and the Secret of the Ruby Elephant” by Elaine Russell is the second book in the author’s middle-grade adventure series. It follows “Martin McMillan and the Lost Inca City”. Ms. Russell seems to have made a great deal of research in the writing of this book, and it shows in the resulting product. This story is about almost-thirteen Martin McMillan, whose parents are both respected archaeologists. The local museum is featuring a special display of ancient Thai artifacts, centered on the famous Ruby Elephant, which legend places in a key position regarding the rumored lost treasure of an ancient Siamese king. Mr. Sommat of Thailand currently owns the Ruby Elephant, and has graciously lent it to the museum for its display. But it seems somebody wants to do more than admire the Ruby Elephant. In a daring, clever plan, the elephant is stolen from the museum the night before the display is scheduled to open. But security was as tight as it could be. Stealing the elephant should have been all but impossible! How did the thief – or thieves – pull off the caper? And what part does Martin McMillan play in the tale?
Against his parents’ expressed prohibition, Martin and his friend Isabel, along with Mr. Sommat’s granddaughter, Junya, follow a laundry list of clues through much of Thailand, unknowingly followed by the thief and his cohorts. The story is not only amusing and entertaining, it is also very instructive, delving into the history of early Siam, and the history of the Buddha. Although I am not spiritually interested in Buddhism, I felt the historical and cultural aspects enlightening and interesting. This series is written for middle-graders, but I believe most parents would also find it to be worth reading. I rate this 5 stars without hesitation, and I will be hunting for the “Lost Inca City” also to read. This is an excellent book.