Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders by Kevin Sylvester is about a boy named Neil, a 14-year-old wonder-chef. He is one of the best chefs in the world, all because of one talent he was born with: an amazingly powerful sense of smell. Since he was a baby, normal foods wouldn’t satisfy him. When his parents finally figured out why he cried so much, they had trouble making him food since they were used to microwaveable mac-and-cheese. But now he owns his own restaurant, along with a cousin he thinks is annoying. Lots of people come to his restaurant and enjoy his food, but what they don’t realize is that he is also a detective.
Nicknamed “The Nose,” Neil uses his amazing sense of smell to help detectives solve mysteries. Lately, police have been finding chefs dead in their kitchens. The police can’t find any evidence except for an odd mixture of drink somewhere around the chef and a note written in Italian, and they can’t detect what is in it. Neil comes in to investigate, and he can’t figure it out either, but he brings the notes to his cousin, who slowly translates them. Is Neil digging into a secret that shouldn’t be unearthed?
I absolutely LOVED this book!!!! It is DEFINITELY on my favorite list now! I love the action and suspense, and Neil’s cousin adds constant comic relief. Also, the author writes so you can figure out the mystery yourself, even though it is a bit challenging. I am also a big fan of it because it talks about cooking, which is one of my FAVORITE things to do besides reading and playing guitar. It is really cool how the author makes Neil sarcastic and kind of rude, but you don’t dislike him either (much like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series). I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book. It was the perfect size and the author didn’t drag it on or try to make it too short, like many authors do. I think it is better than most mystery books because Neil never just figures it out like many main characters do, but it takes a while like it would in real life. This book is on a 6th-8th grade reading level and will appeal to boys and girls. 5 STAR BOOK!!!!
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