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Cover image for The law of finders keepers / Sheila Turnage.
The law of finders keepers / Sheila Turnage.
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Kathy Dawson Books, [2018]

Physical Description:
356 pages : maps ; 22 cm.
General Note:
Companion to: Three times lucky, The ghosts of Tupelo Landing, and The odds of getting even.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
TUR Book Junior Collection

On Order



Pirate fever sweeps through the town after an opportunistic treasure hunter shows up looking to lay claim to Blackbeard's lost gold buried somewhere in Tupelo Landing. Mo, Dale, and Harm Crenshaw--Desperado Detectives--are more than happy to join in the digging, espcially when the Mayor's mean mother hires them to find it first.

But when Miss Lana and the Colonel reveal their own treasures- clues about Mo's long lost Upstream Mother--Mo is finally ready to take on the most important case of her life.

Readers can come to this--the most tender Mo & Dale Mystery yet--right after Three Times Lucky if they like. As the net draws tighter around Upstream Mother, Mo, Dale, and Harm are faced with possible Pirate Curses, family secrets, and the chance that one of them may have to leave Tupelo Landing behind for good.

Author Notes

Sheila Turnage grew up on a farm in eastern North Carolina. A graduate of East Carolina University, she authored two nonfiction books and one picture book before she started writing about Mo LoBeau and Dale. Three Times Lucky is a Newbery Honor book, a New York Times bestseller, an Edgar Award Finalist, an E. B. White Read-Aloud Honor book, and was included on seven Best Book of the Year lists. The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing , the follow-up to Three Times Lucky , has so far garnered five starred reviews. Today Sheila lives on a farm with her husband, a smart dog, a dozen chickens, and a flock of guineas.

Reviews 1

Horn Book Review

In this fourth entry about Mo and Dale (beginning with Three Times Lucky, rev. 7/12), sixth graders Mo LoBeau, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, and Harm Crenshaw are still operating their world-famous Desperado Detective Agency. This time up, they have two mysteries to solve. The first brings new evidence concerning Mos continuing search for her biological mother, and the second plays on North Carolina lore as they pursue Blackbeards lost treasure. Having previously introduced the various inhabitants and setting of Tupelo Landing and established the main characters, here Turnage is free to concentrate on plot and her signature down-home Southern language. Characters grow and reveal their own complexities throughout the course of the novel: Harm must come to grips with his relationship with his mother, Mo needs to think about her mixed feelings for Harm, and Dale requires kissing lessons in preparation for Valentines Day. But the heart of the novel is the mysteries, and the solution to both involves more sophisticated detective work than the Desperados have employed before. This is a sit-back-and-let-the-story-carry-you kind of novel, but one that leaves questions of family and community for readers to ponder after the last page is turned. betty carter (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One The Odds-and-Ends Drawer The Desperado Detective Agency's biggest case ever crept up on tiny Tupelo Landing in the dead of winter, and kicked off on the rarest of days. Unlike most of our borderline famous cases, it started with two things found.  One thing found by me, Miss Moses LoBeau--ace detective, yellow belt karate student, and a sixth grader in her prime.  One thing found by a stranger.  Before all was said and done, it plunged me and my fellow Desperados--my best friends, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III and Harm Crenshaw, the agency's newest detective--into a blood-thirsty chapter of our town's history, and an unspoken chapter of Harm's past. It put our lives in peril, tested our courage, and sent us racing for treasures of the world and treasures of the heart.  As for me, Mo LoBeau, it bent my rivers and scattered my stars.  As usual, I didn't see it coming.  In fact, I was dead asleep in the wee hours of January 11, when my vintage phone jangled. I clicked on my Elvis in Vegas lamp. "Desperado Detective Agency, Mo LoBeau speaking. Your disaster is our delight. How may we be of service?"  I squinted at my alarm clock. Five thirty a.m.  The voice came through scratchy and worried. "Mo? It's Thes." Crud. Fellow sixth grader Thessalonian Thompson, a weather freak desperate to take me to a movie.  I yawned. "No movie."  "It's not that, Mo. I'm over you," Thes said. "It's going to SNOW. I'm giving a few special friends a heads-up."  SNOW? We haven't had real snow in Tupelo Landing since third grade!  "Really?" I said, kicking off my covers. "Is school out? Is this a snow day?"  "That's the problem. School's not out. Miss Retzyl makes that call, and she doesn't know my forecast because she's not answering her phone."  Our teacher, Priscilla Retzyl--tall, willowy, able to do math in her head--is the most normal person in my shy-of-normal life. I adore her. Secretly she likes me too, but ever since she got Caller ID she's been slow to pick up sixth graders' calls.  "Mo, will you go to her house with me?" Thes asked. "I'm an introvert and you're not."  True.  The gardenia outside my window shimmied in the moonlight. What in the blue blazes? Dale's face popped into view, his mama's flowered scarf pulled tight over his blond hair and knotted beneath his chin. Not a good look. "Mo," Dale whispered. "Wake up. Thes says it's going to snow."  "I know," I said, tapping on the glass. "Come to the door."  "Which door?" Thes asked.  "Not you," I replied into the phone as Dale crashed to the ground. I made an Executive Decision. "Thes, call Harm. Ask him to meet us at Miss Retzyl's house in twenty minutes for an Ensemble Beg. But you better be right about the snow."  I smoothed my T-shirt and karate pants as I strolled the length of my narrow, window-lined flat. I swung the door open and Dale bolted inside with his mongrel dog, Queen Elizabeth II, at his heels. "Hey," I said. "We got a snow mission. I'll be ready in three shakes."  "Sorry about the gardenia," he said. "I didn't want to knock, and wake up . . . anybody."  Anybody would be Miss Lana, who wakes up slow. Also the Colonel, who's moody thanks to an eleven-year brush with amnesia. The Colonel and Miss Lana are my family of choice and I am theirs. The Colonel saved me from a hurricane flood the day I was born. Together, we operate the café at the edge of town.  Dale unzipped his oversized jacket--a castoff from his daddy, who won't need it for seven to ten years unless he gets time off for good behavior, which he won't. "Hurry, Mo. I'm sweltering to death," Dale said. "Mama made me layover."  "You mean layer ," I said, sliding my jeans over my karate pants.  Dale, a co-founder of the Desperado Detective Agency, ain't a dead-ahead thinker, but he thinks sideways better than anybody I know.   I pulled on my red sweater and combed my unruly hair. I opened my filing cabinet, shoved aside unanswered Desperado Detective Agency letters, and snagged my orange socks.  "Get gloves too," Dale instructed as someone swished across the living room.  "Morning, Miss Lana," I called. "Dale and Queen Elizabeth are here. Can I borrow some gloves? It's going to snow."  "Snow? Really?" she said, peeking in. Miss Lana, a former child star of the Charleston community theater and a fan of Old Hollywood, gave me a wide, sleepy smile--the real one, not the one she keeps in her pocket for pain-in-the-neck customers at the café. "I love snow!"  She leaned against my doorframe, her Gone with the Wind bed jacket over her pink nightgown, her short coppery hair glistening in the lamplight. "Hey, Miss Lana," Dale said, whipping his mama's flowered scarf off his head. "I hope you slept good. The scarf wasn't my idea. Mama said wear it or my ears would freeze off."  Dale's a Mama's Boy from the soles of his red snow boots to his scandalous good hair--a family trait. Because I'm a possible orphan, my family traits remain a mystery.  I tossed Dale my bomber cap and laced my plaid sneakers.  "Help yourself to my gloves, sugar," Miss Lana said. "They're in my odds-and-ends drawer." As she stumbled toward the smell of coffee, we raced to her room. I zipped to the curvy white chest of drawers. Her top drawer erupted in elastic and lace.  " All her drawers are odds-and-ends drawers," I muttered, opening them one by one and plucking a pair of blue driving gloves from the bottom drawer.  "Mo!" Miss Lana shrieked from the kitchen. "Don't open my bottom drawer!"  "Too late," I shouted as a note drifted to the floor. For Mo When She's Ready .  "Ready for what?" I murmured, uncovering a large white box. I touched a sticky spot where the note used to be as Miss Lana skidded through the door. The Colonel eased in behind her, his bottle-brush gray hair dented on one side, the plaid robe I gave him in first grade cinched at his thin waist.  "What's in here?" I asked, hoisting the box. "Can I open it? I feel ready."  "No," Miss Lana said, grabbing it. She looked at the Colonel and gave him a soft nod. He nodded back. "Tonight, sugar. When we have time to talk," she said, her voice going tinny.  Weird. Miss Lana's a theater professional. Her voice never goes tinny.  "But it has my name on it now ." "It's waited almost twelve years," the Colonel said. "It can wait until the end of something as rare as a snow day."  Our snow day!  "Come on," Dale said, pounding for the door.  We grabbed our bikes and blasted down the blacktop, into tiny Tupelo Landing. But with every pump of my pedals, my curiosity tapped at the lid of that mysterious box.  What's in it, in it, in it?  Excerpted from The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
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