Category Archives: Unsolved

369F: Nerdy Woman Finds Love on Plane

I’m certain I read this book in late 1999-early 2000. It’s about an erudite middle-aged woman who never had much romance in her life and never received much attention from men. I remember her explaining the one thing she has going for her is that she has stayed fit while other women her age gained weight. She never had a husband or kids. On the plane ride over she meets a man who is kind of bumbling and she doesn’t think would be a good fit for her. The book was probably set in the 90s. I think the man was a handyman. They fall in love when they’re both in London.  If my memory serves, I believe the man dies.

369E: The Naughty Frog

My wife and my mother in law remember a children’s book that they read together in the late 80s or early 90s, long since lost–and they have been searching for it for years to hopefully share with grandkids.
The book has illustrations only, no words, and has a similar illustration style to a “Frog and Toad” book.
The book features a little boy with a pet frog. The boy takes the pet frog out on a boat, and while out on the water to somehow another little frog joins the ride.
The first pet frog is secretly jealous of the newcomer and when the boy is not looking, the first frog kicks the other one off into the water, but then plays innocent.
These covert aggressions continue, and are apparently very funny. But the boy eventually figures it out and scolds the naughty frog.
I look forward to any help that you can give!

369B: Favorite Child Inherits

What I don’t know:
Title, author or any character names Possibly published 2013-2016
What I remember. It is a lot!!


Protagonist drives into a small town where she either grew up or visited her aunt in the summer. She pauses and looks at a house she was always fascinated by and notices that it looks vacant. She learns that the old man who owned it (I think he was either a shut in or a hermit) died and that the house is indeed vacant. She wants to buy it and transform it into a B&B. She learns that the town owns it now as it was taken for unpaid taxes. She tries to buy it and is told by someone at Town Hall that the house isn’t clear for them to sell, but they won’t tell her why,
The editor of the local newspaper has retired. She used to work for him at the paper. He lives at the top of a hill and now runs a wastewater recycling facility. She thinks it’s an odd occupation for him, but he likes it. She tells him about the house and that she snuck a peek at the record the town has about the house and that she learned it has something to do with the man’s will. The retired editor tells her to find the man’s lawyer. She asks how to do that, and he gives her a name and tells her that he is the only lawyer in town. She learns from the lawyer that the man’s will states that he has left behind something valuable that would pay the property taxes and leave an inheritance for only his favorite child. The will says that only his favorite child will know where to find it.
The MC (main character) uses her news reporter skills to track down the siblings. I think there were 4 or 5. As adults, the do not get along at all, but they do all come to the house to search. Each believes that they are the favorite child and will find valuable item. They search their own childhood rooms; they search each other’s rooms. They move paintings on the walls and portraits on the wall going up the stairs in search of a hidden safe. Eventually they search outside the house, maybe in a garage or a barn. They argue constantly. One of the men is a heavy drinker. He is also very mean.
Meanwhile, the MC is running the place like a B&B for the siblings with an older woman (I think her aunt) helping, but the aunt has a bad leg and often has to rest. There is a group of gypsies or nomads in town. They come each year. One of them, a young woman comes to the door looking for a cleaning job, but the aunt (?) tells the MC not to hire any of them because they are not trustworthy, and she can do all the work herself.
After the outdoor search the siblings (and some of them have brought spouses), agree that there is no hidden treasure. They have farewell drinks in the sitting room with the man who is the jerk pouring drinks. One woman passes out with her head hitting the table. The MC (who may have been hiding behind the sofa) thinks that the woman has been poisoned and calls an ambulance. Then she calls the police. The nasty man and the others all go in for questioning while the other woman is taken to the hospital. Eventually they learn that there was no poison, and that the woman had a medical condition. The family is free to leave, which they do.
The MC walks around the house looking for things that need to be cleaned or set right. The sitting room, where the drinks were served, looks tidy but something isn’t quite right. She finally spots it. The rug under the coffee table is askew. Suddenly everything fits into place. She races out of the house to where the gypsies or nomads are set up. Slightly apart from the group is an old van with a dutch door at the side. The door is open and the young woman who came to the house to offer to clean greets her. The MC had hired her to clean without telling her aunt. It comes out that the young woman knew where the valuable item was hidden and took it. She has given it to the gypsies/nomads (I don’t know why). The young woman is in fact the illegitimate daughter of the man who died, and her mother was the man’s doctor who made house calls. The MC runs to the gypsy/nomads’ tents to try to retrieve it as it is her only hope for being able to buy the house. However, the patriarch has died, and his body has already been removed to the crematorium. The remaining people don’t have the item.
The MC leaves a message for the detective who had investigated the possible poisoning and asks him to meet her at the crematorium ASAP as the ceremony is to start shortly. She changes her clothes and hopes that the clan won’t recognize dressed differently and perhaps with a hat on. The ceremony has just begun when she gets there and is happy to see the detective there. As the coffin starts down the conveyor belt it gets stuck. The coffin is oversized and wide as the deceased was obese. There are sparks and the drapery between the coffin and the ceremony area are lit on fire. The fire is quickly put out, but in the confusion the MC sees that one of the clan has recognized her and is trying to escape. The woman is caught and is found to have the treasure. It had been hidden in the coffin and this member of the family had been allowed to view the coffin alone and took it back.
In the end it comes to light (perhaps from a diary) that the man and his doctor had an affair, and the child was his favorite. Somehow all gets fixed, taxes are paid, and MC can buy the house.

369A: History of Mystery

Okay.

I read a book of literary theory in about 2003, but I believe it was older than that.

The book was about the connection between mystery / detective novels and ancient religious mysteries. As I recall, it had individual chapters on the Eleusinian mysteries, the Cybele and Attis myth, and other mythologies — focused on ancient religions prioritized by Western perspectives.

The book is not The Sleuth and the Goddess: Hestia, Artemis, Athena, and Aphrodite in Women’s Detective Fiction, but it would be that kind of thing.

I think it also contained some more common ideas about mysteries, such as that they exist to resolve anxiety about societal instability.

Thank you!

368Z: Childhood Book About New Years Eve Resolutions

There was a book I remember having when I was a kid (so mid to late nineties). If I’m remembering correctly, it was a three book hardcover set and one of the books was The Wind in the Willows. I cannot for the life of me remember what the other two books were- maybe they were other stories. I feel like the title was something like the ____ and the ______. I vaguely remember a mole but that may just be from the willows.
Anyways, there’s this particular scene I can’t get out of my head where two characters are talking about New Year’s Eve resolutions and one of the characters doesn’t know what a resolution is and thinks it’s a kind of food/pastry/ dessert thing that you cook and eat. It is driving me crazy that I can’t place what book that’s from and I would so very much appreciate any help!

268W: Kings Getting Smaller and Smaller

I am looking for a children’s book written before 1985. The book is about a man who is looking for an answer or a king. He visits different kings and each king is smaller than the previous one. At the end the last king is so small he is in a horn so people can hear him speak. 
Thanks for any help you can provide.

368T: Hidden riches turns out to be rare books

I’m looking for a mystery/adventure book I read in the 1980’s in my elementary school library.  I believe it came from the same section where the Nancy Drew, Three Investigators, etc. books were and so could have been published in the 70s, 60s, or before.  I don’t remember if it was part of a series or a stand-alone book.  I believe the main character was a female who was investigating a mystery that involved a mansion.  In the mansion there was a library with lots of books that she would visit.  I don’t remember any of the main plot but the end stuck with me.  The man who owned the house was said to have hidden his riches somewhere.  In a twist at the end of the story the main character realizes the books that are in the library are rare originals (e.g. first-edition Shakespeare, early edition Bible, etc.)  The riches were hiding in plain sight all this time in the form of these rare books.
Can anyone help me locate the title or more information about this book?

368S: 90s Board Book, Mouse Birthday

I am in search of a board book I read in the early 90s, probably somewhere between 1991 and 1998. It was a board book, squarish (maybe 5″x5″?) and about 1-1.5” thick. It was probably intended for pre-K children. I believe the cover was a pale pastel yellow or pale pastel green. There was a vignette on the front with the mouse family I believe. The illustration style was not cartoonish, more similar to Brambly Hedge books, though it was not a Brambly Hedge book.
From what I can recall, in the book a little girl mouse in a white dress is sad because she believes her family has forgotten her birthday, however the family is busy readying a surprise for her. The mother has baked her favorite food, cheesecake, her sister (maybe called Sister Mouse?) has made her a card with a heart drawn on it, her favorite shape, I believe her father carves her a little wooden chair with a heart design in its back, and two other mice siblings are drawing a Happy Birthday banner? The main character mouse I recall as having a large pink nose. 
Other books that have been suggested but are not the book I’m looking for:

-It is not “Happy Birthday, Babymouse!” by Jennifer Holm (though I was certain this was the title of the book, I must be wrong) -It is not from the Angelina Ballerina, Brambly Hedge, or Beatrix Potter series. I am not aware of it being from any series, although it could possibly be a Golden Book? -It is not Happy Birthday, Mouse! by Kate Stone, Little Mouse’s Happy Birthday by Robin Spowart, Mouse’s Birthday by Jane Yolen, or Amanda Mouse and the Birthday Cake by Gyles Brandret.

I adored this book as a child and it was lost when a pipe burst in the basement of my childhood home. I didn’t think it would be difficult to find a copy of it, remembering so many details, but when I searched, “Happy birthday, Baby Mouse!” which I had been certain was the title, I came up with various books that are not the book I’m looking for. 
I would be so incredibly grateful to anyone who can help me find this book. 

368Q: Girl & Boy Explore Castle Tower

During my childhood, my family lived in Gloucester, Virginia from 1968 to 1971. My sister and I both remember a book we had out from the Gloucester Library at the time, but we have no memory of the title. It was a children’s story with two children, I think a boy and girl, probably brother and sister, exploring a mysterious castle or tower. The book was hardbound in green (may have had gold illustration in the binding) and was a somewhat tall rectangular shape but not too thick. There were illustrations inside in black and white, I believe. Unfortunately, that’s all we can remember. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!