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The Secret of Trail House Lodge: Sophie

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The Secret of Trail House Lodge: Sophie
An old deserted lodge, an unsolved bank robbery, and a mummified body all lead to a string of mysteries that junior, super-sleuth Sophie Collins and her friends stumble on when they discover hidden passages and secret rooms while exploring the old Trail House Lodge.

Find out how Sophie unravels the mysteries in The Secret of Trail House Lodge, book two in the Sophie Collins Mystery series by best selling author Madge H. Gressley.
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I absolutely loved this story! This second book in the series reads well as a stand-alone.

I have always been a fan of pre-teen detective books. Encyclopedia Brown was my favorite. Sophie Collins ranks right up there. I love the strong-willed, fearless, intelligent, and responsible young heiress to Morsey Manor.

Sophie and her friends do what all kids like to do – explore. Who wouldn’t want to adventure inside an old run-down lodge hidden deep off the main road? I loved sensing the excitement of the group as they meandered their way through the dilapidated building. You knew something was amiss when Sophie’s “mystery gauge” skipped numbers as it increased. Each of the characters were aptly described. I could see Tyler, Tommy, and Beth as we searched for secrets. I could feel Sophie’s distrust of her uncle. I could understand her struggles between who she was and who Grayson insists she needs to become. The warmth of Millie’s motherly love was encouraging.

I enjoyed the flow of the story. New settings and events were easily brought to life. Each moment had meaning. Whenever I thought of a question, the answer was given on the next page. It was interesting to watch as Sophie’s inheritance was about to be taken away while the mystery surrounding the lodge was solved. Lives can be interwoven in the oddest of ways.
What caught my eye first about this book is the spooky house on the cover. It made me shiver with anticipation of a good mystery, reminiscent of days gone by of reading late into the night under the covers with a flashlight. Second, I loved Sophie. She’s a hard-headed, spunky, full of mischief teenager, a girl who is curious and loves figuring things out. She’s even in a club with three of her friends, the Junior Detective Group. She often relies on her ‘mystery gauge’ for clues and according to Sophie, her mystery gauge is never wrong.

During a romp in an old deserted lodge, Sophie and her friends find a mummified body, footprints in the dust, and other items intensifying the mystery of what happened. There are subplots to follow throughout the book: What is the role of the old lodge’s caretaker and what was he searching for? Why did creepy Uncle Titus, her deceased grandfather’s brother, suddenly show up at Morsey Manor, asking questions and insisting that he become her guardian? What is the significance of the items in the safety deposit box? These questions and more led to a good read.

There are different points of view within a few paragraphs of each other and that was a bit jarring, but the author made it clear who was thinking what and it didn’t deter from the storyline. I wish Sophie’s three friends had more personality, because for being teenagers, they seemed flat. However, I liked the characters of Grayson the butler and Millie the cook, and the role of Grayson to Sophie. Grayson is trying his best to teach Sophie manners so she can live up to the reputation of being Hustus Morsey’s granddaughter, but she is a relunctant student, with a mind of her own.

Don't let the category of children's books scare you off from reading this mystery. I would say it's more of a Teens & Young Adult category. I can see Author Gressley collecting a fan base that will follow Sophie and her Junior Detective Group, and look forward to seeing more books in this series.

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