Alex and Zahni discover their detecting skills when the crystallized fossil of an archaeopteryx is stolen from the town’s beloved museum.
The characters are a sampling of cultures, religions and genders that define the United States. There are risky moments but no murders, and no violence is used to solve a case. A fan of Sherlock Holmes, Zahni follows the great master’s pragmatic methodology to uncover evidence. The trilogy spans eight years; in the first book Alex is fourteen and Zahni is nine. The setting takes place before mobile phones, digital photography and social media.
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Alex and Zahni help the police solve mysteries in their town.
Half Moon prides itself on its multicultural neighborhoods that draw visitors to shop and dine. However, residents are divided on the direction the town should take for the future. Magnified, it is a fair reflection of most world conflicts.
The friends learn the intrigues of political rivalry when the incumbent mayor is compromised, the art of the con from the son of a preacher, and the lengths people will go to for money. Their co-conspirators are their neighbors Maria and Mario, the philanthropist Dedra Donahue, her grandson Arthur, and her chauffeur Charles.
A potato field near the Palmetto Springs Wildlife Reserve is unseasonably infected with blight, could it be other than natural causes?
The treasurer for the Preservation Society asks Alex if she and Zahni could discretely investigate a potato field near The Palmetto Springs Wildlife Reserve. The crop was mysteriously infected by late blight, and her friend at City Hall suspects foul play.
Their investigation leads to a clandestine society in Washington, and the unscrupulous sister of a family-owned pharmaceutical company who uses patients from a mental home to conduct her tests.
A Greek shipping tycoon disappears from his private island.
The shipping magnate Demetrius Calisto disappears from his island the morning after his fortieth birthday. Calisto put his fortune to research alternate energy solutions, after witnessing the irreparable damage an oil spill caused the environment. His sister Thalia invites her old friend Countess Katrina to the island while the authorities search for her brother. Alex and Maria accompany her, and Thalia hopes they may uncover clues. Zahni is on a case to find missing art stolen during World War II.
The characters include two scientists in search of an elusive cousin of the mangrove monitor, three treasure-hunter Vietnam vets, Calisto’s ex-wife, his nemesis Estevo Caçador, and an estranged son of which he has no knowledge.
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