Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Though the third book in the Mysterious Benedict Society series was released on October 6, I didn't hear of the books until late September while browsing at D.C.'s Kramerbooks. The cover of The Mysterious Benedict Society (2007) was a draw, as it, and the illustrations in the book, are done by Carson Ellis, who does artwork for the Decemberists.

I ordered the first book from the library shortly thereafter, and tore through it in a couple sittings. It's the story of a group of children who take a series of obscure tests to see if they qualify for "special opportunities." The four who pass end up at Mr. Benedict's house, where he briefs them on a secret mission in which they must go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened and expose evil.

That's all I'm going to say about the plot (and it's nothing you wouldn't learn from the blurb on the inside jacket), since this is a book you want to discover for yourself. It's witty and funny, scary and sad, clever and imaginative. Stewart has created characters that have forbears in other classic children's tales (The Boxcar Children, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Bobbsey Twins), but his world requires more mental gymnastics and derring do than in other books.

The Mysterious Benedict Society also resulted in one night's sleep and a nap in which my dreams involved complicated adventures and puzzles. I think that's an indication that I want to fall right into Mr. Benedict's world. I'm going to read a couple other books, then will be picking up The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (2008) and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma (2009).


  1. This is a book that I've been wanting to read and will definitely do so now. One must read any books that require derring do are my kind of book!

  2. Tim read it apparently, and didn't love it as much as I did.