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The Boney Hand: 10/02/19

The Boney Hand

The Boney Hand by Karen Kane is the second book in the Charlie & Frog middle grade mystery series. This time the mystery involves a school relic that is tied to the town's pirate history.

Charlie is continuing with his studies at the Castle School for the Deaf, being allowed in as an honorary Castle. His animal activist parents are living with Charlie's grandparents so that Charlie can continue to attend the school. Although they are trying to be better parents, they're still better and understanding the needs of rare animal species than the needs of their only son.

The school has an annual tradition celebrating the Boney Hand, the skeletal remains of John Bone, a founding father and known pirate. Where other pirates stole, he was well-known for borrowing things and returning them when he was done.

Legend has it that the other pirates ganged up on John Bone, killed him, and tossed his body into the Hudson River. It's said that after he had been eaten down to skeletal remains, his hand climbed up to the school and finger spelled: "No One Saw."

It's this event that the school celebrates every year and it's Charlie's first year participating in the presentation. Frog is also supposed to participate but she's sidelined after she gets into a fight with the school bully.

After the show while Charlie is on guard at the church, someone steals the hand. The bully starts a rumor that Charlie did it because he as a hearing student is and always will be an outsider. The other rumor going around is that Frog had Charlie steal it so that she would have a mystery to solve.

Like the first book, The Boney Hand uses the road narrative spectrum to frame the story and to unfold the investigation.

Because Charlie and Frog are under suspicion, and their movement around the school and town is limited, their status as travelers moves from couple to marginalized (66).

The destination this time is something bigger than home. Charlie has established Castle-on-Hudson as his home and his globetrotting parents have agreed to live there too when they aren't traveling. This time, the destination is related to the mystery, namely understanding the history of the Boney Hand legend and finding the missing relic. As this is a mystery steeped in history, the destination is uhoria (CC).

The route, though, remains the same as the first book — offroad. The school is still only accessible via the gondola and riding it, plus the other routes on the campus and in the town that Charlie and Frog take, are also independent of roads (66).

Put all together, The Boney Hand is the tale of a pair of marginalized investigators exploring uhoria via an offroad route as they try to solve their mystery.

Five stars

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