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By M.A. Stimson

When Halley goes on a family vacation in France things start out pretty normal.  They land in Paris, do some sightseeing and then rent a car to drive south to Toulouse.  But when they get there Halley runs into a strange little man who seems to know her, and things start to get weird.  Why did he say "I might have known it was you" when Halley was certain she had never seen him before?  And later that day when she finds in a junk shop a hand carved stone sculpture of a dwarfish monk-like figure things get even weirder.  Why did the old woman just give it to her?  Was there something she wasn't telling her? By the end of the first day Halley has not just one but four separate mysteries to contend with, strange happenings that she suspects are somehow connected but has no idea how.

What follows is an exciting romp across the South of France, with all eyes on a mysterious and potentially priceless painting by HiĆ«ronymous Bosch, with a slew of disappearing stone gargoyles leading to a massive investigation by the French Police, with a gruesome murder, and young Halley somehow caught in the middle of it all. 

This adventure, set in post 9/11 Europe, will show you how it feels to travel in a foreign country in the time when digital cameras were just becoming a thing, cell phones were rare, and tablets or i-phones had not yet been invented.  With Halley separated from her little brother Zack, and both of them from their parents, it shows how scary it can be when we are not able to stay in touch. 

In this book you will get a bit of French language (conveniently translated, of course), some interesting art history and forensics, and a vivid look at some of France's most gorgeous villages, cities and cathedrals.  By joining Halley on an unintended sea adventure you will "learn the ropes" on a traditional Mediterranean fishing boat, a hair-raising tale in itself.  And the name "Gislebert" (pronounced "Jheez-luh-bear")will forever have a special significance for you.

Throughout it all you will get to know and love Halley in all her moods,  and by getting "inside her head" you'll gain a role model and a friend for life.  

Great read.  You can't go wrong with this one!

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A Mystical thriller for savvy readers, age 12 to 1200