Northwoods Mystery #1: Enchantment Lake – Margi Preus

Francie hasn’t been back to the lake in seven years, ever since the Accident when she was ten. Now she’s back, courtesy of a frantic phone call from her aunt Astrid, who informs her that

“Someone is frying two grilled auks.”

Once she arrives at the lake her two ‘quirky’ aunts, Astrid and Jeannette, fill her in.

“Frenchy,” Astrid said, her eyes dancing, “there’s a mystery here. And we think you’re the only one who can solve it.”

Okay, girls. What mystery?

“It’s about the road!” Astrid chirped. “We don’t know that,” Jeannette snapped.

Well, that clears that up. Thanks, girls. Because Francie played a detective on a kid’s TV show all of the locals seem to think this qualifies her to solve their very own murder mystery, with locals dying as a result of “strange accidents”. Francie disagrees but starts investigating anyway.

While the mystery is finally solved, the mystery of whether anything sinister was involved in her father’s death is not solved, nor is the mystery of who her mother is or even how Francie got her nickname. Her nickname on the island was French Fry but everyone seems to have given her a nickname for that nickname, so the locals call her Frenchy.

I had been looking forward to this series, mostly because of the amazing cover and the promise of quirky aunts. I still love the cover but was so disappointed by the aunts; simply calling someone quirky doesn’t make it so. I barely managed to scrounge up the makings of a personality between any of the characters and while the aunts had a lot more than anyone else, I would be hard pressed to tell you exactly what it was that was supposed to make them quirky.

I found the mystery fairly boring and had trouble getting past the fact that so many people on the island believed Francie was a detective working in New York; she grew up on the island so wouldn’t the majority of the people she speaks to know she’s only 17?

When she has a chance to find out something about her mother, who she knows absolutely nothing about, she lets the chance slide on by without attempting to follow up. She keeps thinking that she’s a lousy detective, seeming to also forget that she’s not one!

I really struggled to even finish reading this book and am not keen on reading the sequel, although I will at some point because the publisher was kind enough to provide a copy to me. I really hope the sequel wows me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A disturbing call from her great aunts Astrid and Jeannette sends seventeen-year-old Francie far from her new home in New York into a tangle of mysteries. Ditching an audition in a Manhattan theater, Francie travels to a remote lake in the northwoods where her aunts’ neighbours are “dropping like flies” from strange accidents. But are they accidents?

On the shores of Enchantment Lake in the woods of northern Minnesota, something ominous is afoot, and as Francie begins to investigate, the mysteries multiply: a poisoned hotdish, a puzzling confession, eerie noises in the bog, and a legendary treasure that is said to be under enchantment – or is that under Enchantment, as in under the lake? At the centre of everything is a suddenly booming business in cabin sales and a road not everyone wants built.

To a somewhat reluctant northwoods Nancy Drew, the intrigue proves irresistible, especially when it draws her closer to the mysteries at the heart of her own life: What happened to her father? Who and where is her mother? Who is she, and where does her heart lie – in the bustle of New York City or the deep woods of Minnesota? With its gripping story, romantic spirit, and a sly dash of modern-day trouble (evil realtors and other invasive species), Enchantment Lake will fascinate readers, providing precisely the charm that Margi Preus’s readers have come to expect.

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