Danger in Paris

Published in 201; author Sarah Masters Buckey; illustrator Juliana Kolesova


Nellie and Samantha are going on a trip to Paris with Grandmary and Admiral Beemis. They're having a wonderful time experiencing a new culture, when Samantha accidentally eavesdrops on a conversation and learns that her grandfather, being a retired admiral and friends of the Russian ambassador, has been asked to deliver a letter to the Russians. It's one that people high up in politics hope will ensure peace in Europe...and one that Germany might like to get its hands on. It's possible the Admiral is in danger.

But the Admiral assures Samantha there's nothing to worry about. She tries to relax and enjoy sight-seeing, including the Eiffel Tower (at the time, the tallest structure in the world...currently the Burj Khalifa holds the record, 2,722 feet tall to the Eiffel Tower's 986 feet) and a tour of the catacombs. But in those dark tunnels, the Admiral slips and cuts his head badly. Even though the path was dry, not slippery...and his wallet's missing. The letter isn't...was someone trying to steal the letter, or was it just a pickpocket? And Samantha and Nellie can hear someone lurking around their hotel room at night.

As their tours of the city continue, Samantha and Nellie find more clues (and, being a young adult mystery, red herrings). They eventually figure out that two women who are signed up for the same tours are the ones trying to steal the letter--but they failed, because the Admiral kept it in a hidden compartment of his walking stick. Having found the would-be thieves, Samantha and Nellie alert the authorities and are invited to accompany the Admiral to deliver the letter to the Russian ambassador. 

(Too bad this is late 1907...Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated not quite seven years later, starting the first world war)

Inside Samantha's World

When Samantha was growing up, traveling Europe was considered part of a high-class education, to expose children to the culture of Europe. It wasn't just to show off, although of course only the wealthy could afford the cost of a trans-Atlantic ship ride and sight-seeing in various countries. But especially during Samantha's time, political tensions were running high: it wouldn't be long before World War I started.


This book is dedicated to Peg.

Grandmary had a governess as a child.

There's a little scene where Grandmary quietly reminds Nellie how to act like a lady, giving her gentle instruction. I like how Grandmary wants Nellie to know learn manners but understands that Nellie's upbringing didn't leave a lot of time for the specifics that are expected in the wealthy upper class.

Samantha and Nellie visit Notre Dame Cathedral. I went to Paris for a week once, and my younger brother happened to be studying for his First Communion, and our priest agreed he should just have First Communion at Notre Dame. Pretty cool.

Nellie mentions that France uses Celsius instead of Fahrenheit for temperature. While a lot of the world does use Celsius, this graph illustrates how Fahrenheit might be more useful for describing temperature in terms of weather (but really, the easiest scale to use is whatever you're used to):


Mom said...

I returned the other library book for you.

Good to see you back blogging again!

SJSiff said...

Thanks, Mom!