I recently read The Puzzling World of Winston Breen written by Eric Berlin. If you like mysteries written for children and you enjoy putting your brain to work solving puzzles then this book will be right up your alley. Eric Berlin, who happens to write crossword puzzles for the New York Times, has written a mystery that weaves a variety of puzzles and riddles into the plot for the reader to solve as they make their way through the story. The main character is twelve-year-old Winston Breen. He is a puzzle lover and often tries to find patterns and puzzles in everyday things, like the arrangement of toppings on a pizza. He is also well-known for creating puzzles for his friends and family to solve. When a small wooden box he gives to his sister at her birthday party reveals a hidden puzzle everyone at the party immediately thinks that Winston created the puzzle as part of the gift. Soon the partygoers realize that Winston is trying hard to figure out the puzzle right along with them and is just as confused as to where it came from.
Winston and his sister Katie agree to share the puzzle and try to solve it together. They discover however that their puzzle is one portion of a larger puzzle that leads to a hidden treasure left behind by a wealthy citizen of their town. The reader is introduced to a whole cast of characters including Winston’s two best friends, a librarian, an ex-police officer, two questionable treasure seekers and a local newspaper reporter. The group of characters come together to set out on a treasure hunt and to solve some mysterious burglaries that have been happening around town.
As the mystery unfolds the reader finds a series of puzzles and riddles sprinkled throughout the story. Some of the puzzles are pertinent to the plot and are revealed through the text, others are just fun riddles to take a couple of minutes out of reading to solve. You can download the puzzles from the author’s website here. The answers are included in the back of the book in case you get stumped. The Puzzling World of Winston Breen is a very entertaining story that keeps you guessing throughout. Eric Berlin does a wonderful job of blending the puzzles and riddles into the story for an interactive reading experience. If you want to solve more puzzles you can check out Winston’s puzzle blog here.
If you like this book or just enjoy reading mysteries you might also like these books:
The sequel to The Puzzling World of Winston Breen is The Potato chip Puzzles.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin is another book with a puzzle for the reader to solve as they read the book.
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg are both great mysteries to read!