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Zindel, Paul.
New York : Hyperion, 2001.
ISBN 0786815728
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
      MacKenzie Riggs prefers her burgers well done, if she eats one at all.   Peter Hawke, better known as P.C., likes his burgers rare and smothered in globs of melting Roquefort cheese that oozes out with every bite.  She’s better at riddles and psychoanalytical stuff, like figuring out why people do the things they do. And she gets intense chills on the top of her head when something isn’t right.  P.C. is a better judge of straight facts.  Like P.C. likes to say, he’s more like “the left brain to her right lobes.”
                         In spite of their differences, they are best friends.  When the duo learns that a mutual friend, Tom Boggs, the assistant janitor at the Museum of Natural History, has been accused of murder, they are determined to clear his name.  The evidence against Tom seems irrefutable; witnesses saw him with his hands around Dr. Farr’s neck, right there in her office with her cages of tarantulas and poison centipedes.  Even Tom is confused about what really happened, and the police are convinced they have all the evidence they need.  However, the amateur detectives know Tom wouldn’t harm anyone, and they realize he didn’t have a motive.
                          But solving the crime won’t be easy.  Too many people had a reason for wanting Dr. Conchetta Farr dead.  Take the director of the museum, Dr. Grant Gardner, for instance.  He has a secret that would destroy his career, and Dr. Farr knew it.   And, of course, there’s Jeffrey Mirsky and Beverly Congers.  Those two were fighting for Dr. Farr’s job as Director of Research practically before her body had even reached the morgue.  Dr. Liam Speigelman is a new employee, but something about his story doesn’t seem quite right.   So many people have motive and opportunity.
                         What a mess!  Can MacKenzie and P.C. untangle the clues in time to save Tom?  Why was Tom choking Dr. Farr? What, if anything, does the Genesh necklace, which is on exhibit at the museum, have to do with the crime?  Can MacKenzie and P.C. escape danger when the killer discovers they are close to solving the crime before they are sure who the killer actually is?  To discover the answers to these questions, you’ll have to read the bizarre mystery, The Scream Museum, by Paul Zindel.  (Melissa Mixon,, West Hartsville Elementary School, Hartsville, SC)
SUBJECTS:    American Museum of Natural History -- Fiction.
                        Mystery and detective stories.
                        Museums -- Fiction.


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