fiction favorites…Three Times Lucky

Three Times Lucky, by Sheila Turnage

Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt.  Almost before the dirt had settled, Mr. Jesse turned up dead and life in Tupelo Landing turned upside down…
As for me — Miss Moses LoBeau, rising sixth grader — trouble was the last thing on my mind as I crept across Dale’s front porch at six o’clock that morning…”Dale!” I bellowed.  “Wake up!  It’s Mo.”
Just then, Dale’s bedroom door creaked open and his mama leaned into the room, her green eyes soft from sleep.
“Morning, Miss Rose,” I said, pressing my best smile against the window screen.
“Lord have mercy,” she said, staggering back.  “What time is it, Mo?”
“A whisker past six,” I said smiling.  “I sure hope you slept well.”
“I did,” she said, “for a shockingly brief period of time…And you are on my porch before the sun has wiped the sleep from its eyes because…?”
I took a deep breath. “Because the Colonel’s back but Miss Lana’s gone, so I got to open the cafe, which means Dale and me can’t go fishing and I feel like it would be rude not to let him know.  I’m just trying to do what’s right,” I concluded.
Fortunately, Miss Rose is a person of manners and, as Miss Lana says, manners will tell. “Well,” she finally said, “as long as we’re all awake, won’t you come in?”

Mo LoBeau — with the accent at the end —  is a feisty, quick-thinking 11-year-old from the mostly-sleepy little town of Tupelo Landing, NC.  Her origins are a bit of a mystery, swept as she was into the arms of the Colonel during a humdinger of a hurricane when she was just a wee infant.  Mo’s got a unique system of searching for the mother she lost, though she loves the quirky family she has in Miss Lana and the Colonel for the time being.

Everything ticks along as usual in this tiny Southern town until  — blam! — murder!  mystery! strange disapperances and suspicious out-of-towners all descend at one swoop.  Mo and Dale immediately set out to solve the crime themselves, but can they do it before the Law or the Outlaws catch up with them?

This is a great new read, chock full of delightful characters led by the most loyal, spunky, pertinacious Southern girl since Scout.  I absolutely loved her voice as the narrator. The action is non-stop, the dialogue is wry, the crimes are shocking (not for the very young), and the humorous twist at the end is perfect.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and recommend it for ages 10 and up.  Be advised the story line includes child abuse, in addition to the murder mystery, so consider how this will land on the children in your life.

Here’s the Amazon link:  Three Times Lucky