I am happy to introduce author Paula Berinstein as a featured author. She writes middle grade/YA novels–and I have to say, I love the bright and bold book covers! I know that I’ll be getting these books for my sons when they get a little bigger!
A reluctant detective, a criminal mastermind, and . . . sugar?
Amanda Lester wouldn’t be caught dead going into the family business. Her ancestor, Sherlock Holmes’s colleague Inspector G. Lestrade, is a twit. Nevertheless her parents refuse to see his flaws, and she’s going to a secret English detective school for the descendants of famous detectives whether she likes it or not.
When Amanda arrives at the dreaded school, she considers running away–until she and her new friends discover blood and weird pink substances in odd places. At first they’re not sure whether these seeming clues mean anything, but when Amanda’s father disappears and the cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, they’re certain that crimes are taking place.
Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes’s nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn’t like nosy little girls interfering in his business.
“Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy is a smashing Holmesian debut from Paula Berinstein.” Derrick Belanger, I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, http://www.ihearofsherlock.com/2015/12/amanda-lester-sherlock-holmes-meets.html#.VqZlbFIriZF
“If you are a middle grade book fan, and I don’t care what age you are, you will definitely be wild about the author Paula Berinstein.” — Esperanza Gaillard, http://ogitchidabookblog.blogspot.com/2015/11/blog-tour-amanda-lester-and-pink-sugar.html
“I loved this book, I was hooked from the start,” Lola Verroen, http://lolasreviews.com/review-amanda-lester-and-the-pink-sugar-conspiracy-by-paula-berinstein/
“Overall, this book is a complete package! It has an amazing cover with fun characters and a great story line that every reader will totally enjoy and get hooked with!” — Jessica Tan, Driftless, http://ayokongaeh.com/blog-tour-review-amanda-lester-series-by-paula-berinstein/
The first class the next morning was History of Detectives. The classroom was huge and paneled in dark wood. Amanda thought it was beautiful but was thankful she didn’t have to polish it. It would take so long that as soon as she’d finished she’d have to start all over. The room felt old-fashioned but it was a lot nicer than the classrooms at Ysidro Middle School, which were so depressing that she was always mentally redecorating them.
“Bienvenido!” said the teacher, Professor Also, an athletic-looking, curly-haired woman with a kind face and a wavery voice. The students, some of whom appeared bright and eager and others of whom seemed not to have slept the night before, looked around blankly.
“Oh, sorry. Forgive me,” the teacher said. “I just got back from Costa Rica and I haven’t got my land legs yet. That means ‘Welcome.’ May I have a volunteer, please? How about you, Mr. Binkle?”
The goofy-looking boy with the glasses, late of the vomit incident, pointed to himself. “Me, your honor?”
“Yes, you, Mr. Binkle, and I am not your honor. Professor Also will do.”
“Yes, sir, er, your ladyship,” said the boy, every bit as awkward as Amanda thought he was.
Professor Also sighed. “Now would be a good time.”
“Right,” said the boy, and raced to the front, tripping over nothing twice on his way to the spot where Professor Also was pointing. Amanda felt sorry for him.
“Now, Mr. Simon Binkle,” said the teacher. “I want you to select from these items and give yourself a semblance of a detective’s mystique.”
“A what, ma’am?” said the boy.
“A detective’s mystique. Go on. Let’s see what you can put together.”
Mr. Simon Binkle had turned rather red. “I’m sorry. I don’t understand, ma’am.”
“This, class, is exactly the problem for those of us who are new to the detective’s world. In order to be a great sleuth, you must develop a mystique. All the classic detectives have one and we will study them. A mystique sets you apart, and may I say, gives you a certain, I don’t know. Let’s say cachet.”
“Sorry, Professor. What’s cachet?”
“Cachet, Mr. Binkle, is that special something, an almost magical quality, that makes you fascinating.” The idea of the gangly Mr. Binkle being fascinating made Amanda want to laugh.
“Do you mean that we all have to be fascinating?” said Simon Binkle.
“Eventually,” said the teacher, at which the boy’s face went completely white.
“I see I’ve thrown you. Let me reassure you that developing a mystique isn’t nearly as intimidating a procedure as it sounds. This will occur naturally over the course of your time here at Legatum. Let’s talk about it a bit. Yes, Mr. Wiffle.” She pointed toward a pale, redheaded boy who was raising his hand excitedly.
“First, Professor, let me say that I’m very impressed that you already know all of our names. I think I’m going to enjoy your class. Second, can you tell us whether mystiques will be on the tests?”
Amanda looked over at Amphora, who was making a gagging face. When she saw Amanda looking at her she mouthed, “Do you believe this?” Amanda rolled her eyes, then grinned and shook her head. When she caught sight of Nick, who was sitting at the end of her row, she could see that he was laughing silently.
“I’m tempted not to answer that, Mr. Wiffle. A detective should be ready for anything. However, as this is your first day I will make an exception. No. Mystiques will not be on the tests but they will be part of your grade. Let me say right now that I will know if you’re faking a mystique. It’s perfectly acceptable to experiment, and in fact we expect you to do so. However do not try to impress us. A mystique evolves naturally. Trying to be something you’re not will get you nowhere and could actually backfire. Are we clear?”
“Yes, Professor,” said Mr. Wiffle. Amanda, Amphora, Nick, and Ivy were all stifling laughs. Simon, who was still standing in front of the class, seemed completely lost.
“Now, let’s talk about mystiques, shall we?” said Professor Also. “A mystique is much more than appearance, although that plays a large part because it’s what we see. It also has to do with the way the detective thinks and what he or she is most interested in. In other words, it’s what makes the detective different from other detectives.
“For example, we’re all familiar with Sherlock Holmes’s recognizable clothing and accoutrements, but what really defined his mystique was his keen ability to observe small details and draw conclusions from them.” Amanda winced. Who cared what Sherlock Holmes did or didn’t do? “But his observational skills didn’t operate in a vacuum. They depended on his arcane knowledge. As you know, he could deduce an astounding amount about a person just by observing his or her clothes, but in order to do that he had to familiarize himself with everything from buttons to types of wool. So his mystique depended on his knowing a great deal about obscure subjects. Yes, Mr. Wiffle.”
Not him again. Amanda was beginning to get the measure of this kid. She decided that staying away from him would be a good idea.
“Professor, will we be expected to study buttons and things like that?”
“Yes, Mr. Wiffle. Professor Sidebotham will be at your side for these six years, and by the time you graduate you will know more about buttons, fountain pens, and motor oil than 99.999% of the people on the planet.”
The kid’s mouth dropped. He obviously wasn’t happy. Amanda didn’t want to learn about buttons either, but she thought she could put up with it if it meant she got to watch him squirm.
“Mr. Wiffle,” said the teacher. “Do I infer correctly that you’re not interested in buttons and motor oil?”
The class laughed and the kid went as red as his hair.
“No, Professor Also,” he said, catching himself. “I’m quite looking forward to learning about motor oil. It sounds fascinating.”
The teacher gave the kid a look and said, “Indeed. Now, let’s continue with our discussion of mystiques. As I was saying, when you matriculate you will have developed a mystique that is unique to you. A unique mystique, if you will.”
There were giggles around the room until Professor Also fixed the class with a stony stare.
The Amanda Lester, Detective book series
- Secret detective school
- Mysterious events
- Exciting adventures
- Cool gadgets
Enroll in the Legatum Continatum secret detective school today!
- Take exclusive courses like Disguise and Crime Lab
- Hobnob with master detectives like Gaston Thrillkill and Particle Peaksriboon.
- Develop your detective’s mystique.
Solve mysteries like:
- What are those yellow gluppy things?
- Why did Professor Bill Pickle disappear?
- What is the missing whatsit anyway?
Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.
Social media links
Amanda Lester Web site: http://amandalester.net
Paula’s blog on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/969582.Paula_Berinstein/blog
Paula’s Goodreads profile:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/969582.Paula_Berinstein Amanda Lester’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaLesterDetective
The Writing Show (my writing podcast, which I produced and hosted for about seven years): http://www.writingshow.com
Paula’s Twitter account: @pberinstein
Goodreads book page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25605562-amanda-lester-and-the-pink-sugar-conspiracy
Series Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaLesterDetective/