When the three perspicacious teenagers, Calder, Petra, and Tommy go to an Alexander Calder (a famous mobile artist) exhibit at the art museum in Chicago, they have no idea just how important the artist will be in the week to come. Soon after, Calder and his dad travel to the small village of Woodstock, in England, where Calder discovers an anonymously donated Alexander Calder sculpture, the Minotaur, and a maze at Blenheim Park. But suddenly, just as Calder is discovering the small town, both he and the sculpture vanish on the same night. Petra and Tommy immediately fly to England to help Calder’s distraught dad and the police find him. In this third installment in the series the author, Blue Balliett, creates an even more engaging and intricate plot than the previous novels, Chasing Vermeer and The Wright 3. Hiding subtle clues throughout the story, she uses a combination of foreshadowing and intrigue, to keep the reader enticed to the end. She also continues to mention mobiles, like the ones created by Alexander Calder, throughout the story line- relating them to the leaves, crows, and even paper trash. This can be a bit confusing and metaphoric at times, and rather odd. She even structures the story like a mobile, with plots and characters twisting and turning constantly. In the end, the young “art sleuths”, Petra and Tommy, stumble upon the right clues and come to the correct conclusions to find the puzzle wrapped in the mystery. Although odd at times, Balliett has definitely crafted this novel more solidly than her previous novels. I’d rate this a definite 4 out of 5 stars.
The Calder Game by Blue Balliett
December 11, 2009