The Mystery of the City of Incas
Pen and Quin: International Agents of Intrigue
by KS Mitchell
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Pub Date 28 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 05 Dec 2023
When Penelope and Quintus Grey Reyes travel to Machu Picchu over Christmas break, they expect plenty of history in the Lost City of the Incas, but they get a mystery instead. A Peruvian girl, Mayra, asks the twins to help solve the disappearance of her great-uncle nearly 100 years ago - a great-uncle who just happened to guide explorer Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu for the first time in 1911.
As the twins trace the footsteps of the missing man, they learn not everyone wants this mystery solved. Meanwhile, their grandfather is arrested for returning ancient artifacts to Machu Picchu that are found to be fake, and Pen and Quin are certain this new mystery is connected to their own.
When Supay, the Inca god of death, appears on a doorway, the twins wonder if they should abandon the mystery, but their search leads them on a twisting train ride back to Machu Picchu that nearly brings an end to their search and their lives.
When the trail leads to a nearby mountain and a dangerous path, the twins are close to solving both cases, but can they finish the case or will they also disappear in the City of Incas?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 3 members
The teacher within loves to see children reading mystery stories. I believe they are so developmentally important because they encourage young readers to hone their critical thinking skills by digging deeper for clues while they read. Perseverance is a skill that we need to teach our youth. Seeing characters who dig deeper for clues rather than giving up on the first or second try shows readers the value of determination. I also believe that these types of books have the potential to model independence. Budding detectives, like well-adjusted children, don’t just happen…they are fostered by you and me.
Thirteen-year-old twins Penelope and Quintus and their older brother, Archelaus ‘Archie’ Grey Reyes head to Peru to spend Christmas break with their grandparents. When a trip to Machu Picchu is organized for them, the young twins are excited about learning more about this historical site. A chance meeting with Mayra Diaz Quispe, a young Peruvian girl at the Mercado, leads the twins on an adventure. Mayra is convinced that something sinister has happened to her great uncle after guiding Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu. It doesn’t take the twins long to discover that someone doesn’t want them investigating the disappearance of Mayra’s relative. Furthermore, they realize they are on the cusp of something bigger - something that is connected to their grandfather. Can they solve both cases or is their fate to be another missing person in the City of the Incas?
Children will read about
✔️Peru, both the historical and cultural influences
✔️siblings learning to work together and watching out for each other
✔️Machu Picchu and the excitement of exploration - modern and ancient
✔️solving a 100-year-old mystery
✔️being careful with their spending money
✔️a genuine sense of wonder, independence in a different country without parental guidance, a concern about checking in with adults
✔️adventure that the author hopes will foster a love of travel/exploration in the reader
On a more personal note, I loved the chance to revisit Machu Picchu. We’ve recently visited and I’d recommend this trip. I enjoyed seeing it again through the children’s eyes; the altitude sickness, the train through the Sacred Valley, a meal in Aguas Calientes, sipping on Inca Kola, hearing Quechua, wandering through the mercado, walking over bridges spanning the Urubamba River, wandering Plaza de Armas, being tempted to try cuy chactado, and meandering through the ruins at Sacsayhuaman.
I’d gladly recommend this series to my niece and nephew because I see the value in the opportunity for children to explore the world of mystery while learning important life lessons about perseverance, independence and working together.
I was gifted this copy by Vinspire Publishing and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.