The Case of the Counterfeit Painting

Children - Mystery
166 Pages
Reviewed on 02/12/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Angela D. Moss is an author of travel mysteries - ostensibly for middle schoolers, but secretly for everyone. Generally, her fiction is created under the cover of darkness; while there is a bright shiny orb in the sky, you can find her masquerading as a computer scientist in the field of technology. If she isn’t in front of a computer, you may find her on an airplane or cruise ship, in a museum, or even taking in the local sights on a pair of rollerskates. From an early age, Angela discovered she adores traveling, and is now happy to drag her husband, son, and daughter away from the comfort of their home (and two cats) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to gather information for future books. If you’d like to continue to follow Angela as she releases new titles, you can find links to all her social media on her website at

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

There is something very mysterious about the woman in black. Morgan keeps noticing her: on the plane en route to a family trip to Pittsburgh, in the hotel, in the mall, and other places as well. Each time Morgan sees this mysterious woman in black, she inches closer and learns something more about the woman’s nefarious intentions. She has a partner, Robert, and they’re planning to steal a valuable painting from one of the large galleries in Pittsburgh. The only thing is, the painting they’re planning to steal (or actually replace with a forgery) has something to do with a can. That image alone sets Morgan’s wild imagination afloat. Why would anyone paint a can? And why would it be so valuable that someone would want to forge it and steal the original?

Angela D. Moss’s young people’s novel, The Case of the Counterfeit Painting, is a modern-day Nancy Drew-type mystery. Morgan, who has just finished Grade 6 and is looking forward to starting Grade 7 in the fall, is off on a family vacation with her mom and younger brother. They explore the many galleries in Pittsburgh, learning about the city’s history and marveling at its culture. With a vivid imagination and bent on solving mysteries, it’s a small wonder that the protagonist is a young sleuth who sees a mystery in just about everything around her. The plot follows Morgan’s many encounters with this woman in black as she tries to discover the plan and the painting of a can that is the source of the planned heist. The characters are well developed and there’s lots of dialogue to help move the story along. The descriptive narrative leads the characters through multiple settings while also teaching them something about the history and culture of Pittsburgh. This is an interesting read and a real page-turner for young mystery fans.

Amy Powers

The Case of the Counterfeit Painting is a children’s book for middle-grade readers by Angela D. Moss. Morgan has just finished the sixth grade, and now she is off with her mother and brother on a two-week trip to Pittsburgh. Her mom has to work the whole time, but there are still many opportunities for Morgan and her brother to explore everything the city has to offer. However, Morgan’s mind is distracted by a mysterious woman that she encountered in the airport. The conversation that Morgan overheard indicated that the woman and her accomplice were planning to steal a famous painting. Despite her mother’s warnings and her brother’s indifference, Morgan is determined to find that painting and foil the mysterious woman’s plans.

The Case of the Counterfeit Painting combines a children’s mystery story with a cultural experience of one of the oldest cities in the United States. Just as Morgan and her brother enjoyed exploring Pittsburgh, readers will also enjoy learning about the city and its sights as the two children go on their adventures. It is easy to see that Angela D. Moss has a strong love for her home city, and her passion for its history and culture are brought to life with flawless writing and elegant descriptions. It is fun to see the world through Morgan’s eyes as we tag along with her and Brad while they explore museums, architecture, and historical facts about Pittsburgh. I look forward to seeing what city Morgan and her brother will explore next.

Lexie Fox

The Case of the Counterfeit Painting is the new mystery novel for children written by Angela D. Moss. The teen sleuth is an absolute staple of modern children’s literature, inspiring young people all around the world to pick up a magnifying glass and start taking notes about suspicious people in their neighborhood ever since Nancy Drew first appeared in the 1930s. This book continues the tradition with a marvelous and relatable lead character and an exciting mystery about a painting and the people who would steal it. Morgan’s visit to Pittsburgh after finally finishing sixth grade takes a criminal turn when she learns of plans to steal a painting, plans which Morgan could foil if only her mother wasn’t keeping such a close eye on her.

I loved the spirit and determination that Morgan shows throughout the story, keen to both do what is right by stopping the criminal but also to prove herself to the world as someone who doesn’t need looking after anymore. There’s a dedication to proving your own adultness that kids Morgan’s age regularly feel which Angela D. Moss has captured skilfully in her prose, and the rest of the characters follow this trend of being well-rounded and believable people instead of descending into caricature. The plot of the book is very dynamic and sucked me deep into the mystery with just the right level of murkiness and twisting turns for a book aimed at this age group. The Case of the Counterfeit Painting is an excellent tale for young readers everywhere, and I hope it does its part in inspiring the next generation of young detectives.