The Case of the Missing Music

Children - Mystery
232 Pages
Reviewed on 06/16/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

The Case of the Missing Music by Angela D. Moss is a delightful middle-school adventure with amateur detective Morgan Draca. Morgan and her little brother Brad often accompany their high-powered lawyer mother on her business trips to consult with clients. Morgan who has a penchant for mysteries and unraveling them is also a confirmed history buff, so when their mother informs them they will be traveling to the deeply historic city of New Orleans in Louisiana, Morgan is thrilled and excited, although she is sad to have to leave her two best friends behind, yet again. This time, Morgan will find she has two different mysteries to solve. When one of her friend’s mothers gives her a headband and instructs her to place it somewhere in New Orleans, telling her that she will instinctively know where it should go, Morgan has her first mystery. In addition, the children’s minder in New Orleans is a past babysitter, Sheila, who is now attending college in the city. Sheila’s family is originally from New Orleans and her great-grandfather was a notable musician in the thriving jazz scene of the city. Morgan will be tasked to search for a legendary original composition that Sheila’s great-grandfather is said to have composed and then hidden somewhere in the historic city. Morgan’s task is to find that lost piece of music.

The Case of the Missing Music is a truly delightful read. This is not the first iteration of Angela D. Moss’ twelve-year-old sleuth but it is the first I have read and although I am far away from the target audience, I can truly say I loved every second of this story. Morgan is an interesting character in that although she shows great maturity in certain areas and a great depth of historical knowledge, it doesn’t take much for her pre-teen pouty, rebellious, and emotional nature to emerge. What I particularly loved is that it illuminates perfectly the time frames and events of history without seeming to lecture in a scholarly manner. It also shows off the very best of the points of interest to be found in New Orleans and highlights many of the city’s attractions and beauty. I enjoyed, along with Morgan, the task of unraveling the clues in the search for where to place the headband in New Orleans and, of course, the main mystery to be solved; the repository of the legendary piece of music. Moss' expressive and expansive descriptive style will take readers right inside the historic part of New Orleans, to the point where you can smell the honeysuckle and feel the moist, humid air entering your lungs. This is exactly what a middle-school novel should be; exciting, mysterious, and clean, but most of all, educational, without seeming to be so. I loved this gentle tale and would love to read more from this talented author. I can highly recommend this read.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

Morgan Draca has a knack for solving mysteries, while mysteries have a knack for following her. Morgan goes for a short trip to New Orleans with her mother and her younger brother, Brad. Although being separated from her two best friends is difficult, at least Morgan has Sheila to accompany her through tours and museum visits. Sheila is desperate to retrieve her great-grandfather’s legacy - a piece of music he had created and performed but later hid from prying eyes. Although Morgan offers to assist Sheila in her quest, her mother strictly forbids it. Can the tours through New Orleans provide valuable clues and can Morgan find the music and help her friend? Find out in The Case of the Missing Music, the first book of the Morgan Draca Mysteries by Angela D. Moss.

This middle grade adventure novel alternates between being a sleuth story and a travelogue. I loved Morgan, the central protagonist whom Moss sketched meticulously. She morphed into a real-life character with her unending enthusiasm, love for knowledge, frustrations, and anger. I loved Morgan and Brad’s banter and appreciated their loving bond despite differing interests. Morgan’s intelligence, resourcefulness, and perseverance were admirable. At the same time, the cultural history of New Orleans infused the novel. Angela D. Moss provided generous glimpses into the geography, architecture, and sumptuous food of New Orleans. The vivid descriptions help readers form a clear mental image of the place and allow them to experience its rich heritage. Even the mystery was rooted in cultural references, setting The Case of the Missing Music apart from other books in this genre.

Nino Lobiladze

Morgan Draca's perfect summer with her school friends, Sara and Melanie, ends as her mom, Maya, takes her and her young brother, Brad, to New Orleans. Maya is a lawyer and travels a lot. Morgan and Brad often accompany her to see new exciting places. The kids have strict instructions from their loving but sometimes intimidating mother to learn about the city and see as many historical and cultural sites as possible. But there is a burning mystery of the lost music written by Simon P. Decuir, the great-grandfather of Morgan's former babysitter, Sheila. According to his diary, Simon hid the music in public view at Café du Monde in New Orleans. Heartbroken, Sheila told the Dracas that she couldn't find the music there. Morgan accepts the challenge despite the risk of disappointing her mom and hurting Sheila's feelings. Morgan is going to solve this family mystery and crack the code. The Case of the Missing Music by Angela D. Moss, the first book of a series, is a delightful mystery for children and adult readers alike.

The Case of the Missing Music is a wonderful guide to the rich history and culture of Louisiana, full of fun facts and anecdotes about the state. The book has educational value for young readers and adults planning to travel to New Orleans. From this amazing book, I learned the difference between a plantation and a farm and that voodoo dolls were not always what we used to think about them. Morgan is a great character. Being just twelve years of age, she is not afraid to visit sites related to vampires or ask Maya for help when the answer to the mystery is within her reach. Solving the case, Morgan thinks outside the box; she is observant and simply brilliant. Also, Angela created a perfect example of an annoying but beloved little brother in Brad. The beautiful descriptive writing style and Morgan's astonishing way of finding the music makes the book appropriate for mystery lovers of any age.