Walker. May 2020. 352p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536208597.
Gr 5-7–In the opening scene of this sequel to Malamander, a dark and stormy night brings a sinister new guest to the Grand Nautilus Hotel who delivers a strange object to Lost-and-Founder Herbie Lemon—a spiky mechanical shell which scuttles about and plays a sea shanty. This launches Herbie and his spunky friend Violet on a perilous adventure. When a fish-shaped bottle with a mysterious light inside washes up on the beach at Eerie-by-the Sea, it is left in Herbie’s care since both Mrs. Flotsam and Dr. Thalassi claim it for their respective enterprises. In pursuit of a fair decision as to who should have it, the young sleuths find themselves on a wild boat journey to find the source of a violent storm, personified as Gargantis, which is threatening the life of the town. Vividly drawn characters and setting, delicious humor, and Herbie’s intimate second-person voice contribute to a thoroughly enjoyable story with many twists and turns—though Malamander readers might wish for a few more clues as to how Herbie came to wash up onshore in a lemon crate as a child and just what happened to Violet’s parents who were somehow lost at sea. Black-and-white illustrations and a map appear liberally throughout.
VERDICT Readers will gobble up this supernatural seaside adventure and eagerly await the next in the series.

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