In Deron's Hicks Secrets of Shakespeare's Grave, a young new sleuth, named Colophon, emerges in a series of mysteries surrounding the hidden Letterford family treasures. Colophon, as her name suggests, is deeply rooted in a tradition of book publishing. However, a problem surfaces fro her family. Suspicious incidents jeopardize her father's current claim to the ownership of Letterford and Son and have caused the Letterford family to lose faith in Mull Letterford as the company leader. If he does not fix things by Christmas, then the company ownership could go to his cousin who appears way too eager (at least to Colophon) to take over the family company and fortune. Colophon aims to discover the Letterford hidden treasures and make sure that her father has enough money to weather the current storm.
I would recommend this book to children ranging from the ages of eight to twelve. Compact chapters ending with a cliffhanger style engaged me with that irresistible"tug" that gets readers to turn the next page and dive into the next chapter. The story also creates more added interest in the great bard, Shakespeare, as each chapter begins with a line of his writing. And who does not want more Shakespeare in their life?
The story takes place in both the north eastern United States and England. A series of events leads Colophon to such places as graveyards and centuries-old banks in England. While Colophon discovers many clues leading to the Letterford family treasure, she finds that the closer she gets to answering the mystery the more questions there are. Indeed, a sequel to Secrets of Shakespeare's Grave is forthcoming.
I also like the choice of names in the story. Colophon is a tern derived from the book publishing industry and she does indeed seem to be the force keeping the industry alive in her family. Her father, Mull, is a deliberate thinker and planner, one who does not rush to judgments but ponders the meaning of things as his name suggests. Hicks obviously enjoys playing with language and his fun, inviting tone in his writing is sure to attract many young readers everywhere.