I was looking for a fun light read, and after browsing through the children’s mystery section at my library ebooks/audiobook website I settled on Floors by Patrick Carman narrated by Jesse Bernstein.
The Whippet Hotel is a strange place full of strange and mysterious people. Each floor has its own quirks and secrets. Leo should know most of them – he is the maintenance man’s son, after all. But a whole lot more mystery gets thrown his way when a series of cryptic boxes are left for him . . . boxes that lead him to hidden floors, strange puzzles, and unexpected alliances. Leo had better be quick on his feet, because the fate of the building he loves is at stake . . . and so is Leo’s own future!
I really enjoyed this book. I’m a big fan of books that revolve around children exploring a particular place. One of my favorites is From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. Floors has a lot of similarities to The Mixed-Up Files. First, the child protagonist is relatable. In The Mixed-Up Files, Claudia runs away from home because she feels misunderstood by her parents. Like Claudia, Leo’s motivation for his adventures is understandable. He desires to help his father keep his job at the hotel.
Secondly, the child protagonist has a sense of adventure and wonder that helps keep my own alive. In The Mixed-Up Files Claudia chooses to runaway to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City because she wants to live in a place of beauty and wonder. When she discovers a mystery at the museum she can’t help but be drawn in by her natural curiosity. In the same way, Leo is drawn into a mystery in the Whippet Hotel a place of full of strange curiosities because he can’t let a cryptic box puzzle go unsolved.
Which leads into my third point, that the child protagonist in each story uses practical resources at their disposal to solve the mystery. In the Mixed-Up Files Claudia and her brother go bathing in a wishing well to pick up coins and use them to buy necessities, and after hours sneak around the museum searching for clues. In Floors, Leo uses his new found ally and his knowledge of the hotel to solve puzzles and search for clues without getting caught.
Jesse Bernstein is a fine narrator. He has narrated a lot of children’s and young adult books and his voice lends itself to that wonder and sense of adventure. Some of his voices were not that distinguishable, but that did not hinder my enjoyment of the book.
If you want a decent mystery (that you will probably figure out some of) set in a place of wonder, strange happenings, and full tilt excitement, check out Floors by Patrick Carman.