Online Edition: Summer 2005

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Down the Rabbit Hole

An Echo Falls Mystery

Peter Abrahams

Laura Geringer ($15.99)

by Kris Lawson

In Down the Rabbit Hole, 13-year-old heroine Ingrid Levin-Hill demonstrates the genius of an intelligent young girl as well as the glitches. She tends to think faster with her feet than her brain--not a bad trait in a soccer player, but one that has mixed results when she investigates the murder of Echo Falls' local crazy woman, Cracked-Up Katie.

Ingrid unwittingly involves herself in Katie's murder by leaving her unique soccer shoes in what later becomes a crime scene. Desperate to retrieve them so she won't get in trouble with her parents, Ingrid witnesses someone else altering evidence. When two innocent people are arrested, Ingrid, a Sherlock Holmes fan, tries to ease her nagging conscience by finding evidence that will clear them.

Crime-solving is one more burden to add to Ingrid's complicated life: she's in rehearsals as the lead in a stage production of Alice in Wonderland, her algebra grades are slipping, and her parents are fighting about money. Vincent Dunn, selected to play the Mad Hatter, forms a connection with Ingrid, but true to his role, is just as confusing as he is helpful. Meanwhile, her grandfather needs her help with a mysterious project that will keep developers off his land; her father's boss has a daughter who wants to play Alice and will stop at nothing to get the part; and the cute son of the police chief (whom she's dodging) suddenly asks her out.

Although the mystery is not complicated, Peter Abrahams's book is light-hearted and fun, with just enough depth to keep it from flying completely away. Ingrid's crime-solving may be a tad improbable, but her unique voice and textured life are resonant and memorable.

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