The Winterton Deception 1: Final Word (Hardcover)
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I don’t say this lightly, but this is the best middle grade mystery I’ve read in a very long time - a Westing Game for a new generation. Twins Hope and Gordon Smith have always lived alone with their mom, never knowing their dad, or his side of the family. Money’s always been a bit tight, but when it looks as though they may be evicted from their home at the motel where their mom works, Gordon concocts a plan to enter into the annual Winterton Spelling Bee. The Winterton Family are dictionary magnates with more money than sense and when the family matriarch dies, she sets in motion a competition to see who inherits the family fortune. But there are other forces at work, and in such a wealthy family, secrets abound. Hope and Gordon find themselves in the middle of the intrigue, hoping that the Wintertons never discover that their dad was a Winterton too. An absolute tour de force from local Utah author Janet Sumner Johnson.— Antonia Squire
Hope Smith can’t stand rich people—the dictionary magnate family the Wintertons most of all. Not since she and her twin brother, Gordon, learned that their dad was one. So when Gordon enters the family into the Winterton’s charity spelling bee, Hope wants nothing to do with it. But with their mom losing her job and the family facing eviction from the motel where they live, they desperately need the money, and it looks like Hope doesn’t have much of a choice.
After winning the preliminary round, the Smiths are whisked to Winterton Chalet to compete in the official Winterton Bee against their long-lost relatives. Hope wants to get in and out, beat the snobbish family at their own game, and never see them again. But deceased matriarch Jane Winterton had other plans for this final family showdown. Before her death, she set up a clue hunt throughout the manor—an alternate way for Hope and Gordon to get the money that could change their lives.
Still, others are on the trail, too. With tensions at an all-time high, a fortune at stake, and long-simmering family secrets about to boil to the surface, anything could happen.
A tense, clever clue hunt unafraid to tackle the challenges and secrets often kept behind closed doors, Final Word is a gripping series starter sure to satisfy even the most voracious armchair detectives.
★ "[O]vertones of Agatha Christie. . . . Intelligent, intricately plotted, and ultimately moving."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
★ "In this nuanced first-person narrative, clever riddles, high-stakes competition, and fraught family drama keep the pages turning, while keenly rendered characters . . . discover the value of kindness, the harm of preconceived notions, and the folly of equating wealth with happiness."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"The enticing combination of spelling bee drama, treasure hunt puzzles, family secrets, and a stunning final twist will keep readers enthralled."—School Library Journal
"I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough—The Winterton Deception had me hooked!"—Jennifer A. Nielsen, #1 New York Times bestselling author