'Zora and Me,' a young adult mystery about Zora Neale Hurston, by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon

Tuesday, November 30, 2010; 11:18 PM

ZORA AND ME

By Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon

Candlewick, $16.99. Ages 10 and up

Move over, Nancy Drew. There's a new girl sleuth in town: a fourth-grader named Zora Neale Hurston. Co-authors Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon (who grew up in Washington and Alexandria) vividly imagine the iconic Harlem Renaissance author as a spunky young tale-spinner in Eatonville, Fla., the real Hurston's childhood home. How are a folkloric "gator man," an elderly "conjure" woman and a beautiful mulatto woman involved in the death of a sweet-voiced stranger? Zora and her two best friends are determined to find out. Woven through this eerie whodunit are historic details of Zora's personality, family dynamics and racially charged times. This mystery not only thrills and chills but vibrantly evokes a small Southern town in the early 20th century.

-Mary Quattlebaum


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