Fans of mystery, history, and art will love this book. Theodora "Theo" Tenpenny lives with her mother (Angelika) and grandfather(Jack) in their family home, a home that has seen better days. Her grandfather paints and also works as a security guard at the Metropolitan Art Museum. Her mother has been working on her dissertation for her degree in mathematics for the last 15 years and rarely leaves the house. So Theo and Jack take care of the errands,chores and repairs. When Jack dies, Theo is left as a 13-year-old in charge of the household and her mother withdraws even more into her number theorems. Jack's last words to Theo were to find a treasure "under the egg" in his studio. What Theo finds leads her into a mystery dating back to World War II. Along the way she makes a new friend and develops relationships with many of the people she meets, all of which is rather new for her. Until this adventure, she has been content to have Jack as her main companion. Now she has Bodhi, whose parents are famous movie stars, and who lives just down the street. Together the girls use the Internet, the public library, the expertise of various community members ranging from the pastor of the church to the vendor with the snack nuts cart, and even interview a WWII veteran to piece together the puzzle Jack has left behind.
This is a story full of interesting personalities, historical details, and the excellent detective work of two young teenagers. One of my favorite characters is the reference librarian, Eddie. His enthusiasm for helping the girls and his free-spirited attitude are very appealing. With the art aspects and the kids working on the mystery, Under the Egg reminds me of Chasing Vermeer; if you have read and enjoyed Blue Balliett's book, then I think you will love this one, too.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. It was published March 18, 2014. For more information about the author, check out her website.
In a funny twist of fate, this is the painting (below) that Lydon thinks Theo has in the book, a self potrait of the artist Raphael. But after Under the Egg was published, the painting was reported to have been found in a Swiss bank vault!