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Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits


Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits

Ten-year-old Henry Shipley figured he was in for a snooze of a train ride aboard the Lake Erie Shoreliner with his mother and little sister on their way to New York City.  That was before two very different people walked into his life. The first was a girl his age named Ellie Strasbourg who came from money and could talk a mile a minute. The second wasn’t a person at all --- it was a calico cat named Lantern Sam who could talk and share his thoughts with a few select humans, Henry being one of them. Normally a talking cat would be excitement enough, but Lantern Sam also happens to be one of the greatest detectives, and a detective is exactly what Henry needs after finding himself at the center of a mystery.

LANTERN SAM AND THE BLUE STREAK BANDITS is one of those rare mysteries that will keep you guessing until the end!

The Crime: Ellie Strasbourg has gone missing aboard the Lake Erie Shoreliner, and the kidnappers are demanding a very valuable necklace, the Blue Streak, for her safe return.

The Suspects:

·      Judge Ambrose: The local law enforcement on the Shoreliner who seems to live by his own rules.

·      Reverend Perfiddle: The holy man whose holiness may be called into question.

·      Mrs. Perfiddle: Pregnant, yet seems particularly agile for someone so close to giving birth.

·      Mrs. Strasbourg: Ellie’s mom who appears heartbroken for her kidnapped daughter --- or is she?

·      Julia: The Strasbourg’s maid who seems to be good at “covering up” dirty messes.

·      The traveling salesman: His large suitcase full of samples that has conveniently gone missing --- with the samples left behind.

·      The gossip columnist: She seems to know an awful lot about everyone.

·      The man and woman in dark glasses: They really don’t want anyone to know they are on the train, but why?

Now it’s up to Henry, Lantern Sam and conductor Clarence Nockwood to figure out who the kidnappers are, where they’ve hidden Ellie, and if there are any more sardines left on the Shoreliner. Well, the sardines aren’t as important as the first two, but you’ll have to convince Lantern Sam to work on an empty stomach, and good luck with that! 

I am always up for a good mystery, and LANTERN SAM AND THE BLUE STREAK BANDITS is one of those rare mysteries that will keep you guessing until the end! Everyone is a suspect and all of their stories just don’t match up. Plus, just when you think you’ve got it figured out, the twists and turns keep coming and make you rethink everything. A nice highlight to the whole book is that Lantern Sam’s life story is sprinkled throughout, giving you a chance to learn on how he got his nickname, how many of his nine lives he’s supposedly lost and how he lost them, and why in the world he’s so addicted to sardines. This fun-filled mystery will have you purring by the end!


Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on May 2, 2014

Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits
by Michael D. Beil

  • Publication Date: April 8, 2014
  • Genres: Mystery, Noir, Youth Fiction
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0385753179
  • ISBN-13: 9780385753173