“On a bright Sunday morning in the early years of the last century, a bellhop from the Hotel Excelsior knocked at the front door of 5 Thieves Alley, the home of William and Mary Starling of the Starling Theatrical Company, and their son, Maximilian. The bellhop, wearing the traditional red uniform with stripes running the length of his trouser legs and with the traditional red cap perched on his head, put a small packet into the hand of the dark-haired, hawk-nosed man who opened the door and accepted the coin offered to him for his trouble. He walked briskly off; unaware of what he had started.”
Mystery is afoot in this jaunty adventure where Maximilian Starling is all set to travel to India on a ship named the Flower of Kashmir. His parents have been invited by the Maharajah to establish a Theatrical Company in India; the Maharajah had seen them perform, it made an indelible impression on him, which then inspired him to conceive the dream of having his own Company. The Maharajah had even sent a fabulous brooch as an incentive. It’s decided that Max, at 12, is old enough to become independent. He will travel with them, bring his bicycle and embark on the education of a lifetime. One small problem: when he arrives at the docks after his last painting lesson with Joachim, his parents, along with the Flower of Kashmir, are nowhere to be found; no one’s even heard of the Flower of Kashmir.
Shaken, and worried, after questioning Captain Francis, and the local Harbormaster, he rides back to Grammie, who lives in the house behind their property, to re-group and discuss what to do next. Mystery and adventure ensure. Max’s wits are tested: lost child Angel Humphrey, lost dog Princess Jonquilletta of the Windy Isles, Gabrielle Glompf—extraordinary pastry chef with a ruined reputation, his Math Tutor Ari—so handsome he looks like a marble statue of one of the Greek Gods, the stolen Cellini spoon, and cranky Baroness Barthold. The situation turns dangerous when thugs ransack his house—looking for what? Necessity drives him to become the “solutioneer.”
Newbery medalist Cynthia Voigt’s voice is fresh and exciting, capturing perfectly the tone of an almost 13 year old boy as he struggles to make sense of the mystery of his lost parents. Mister Max, written by Cynthia Voigt, illustrated by Iacopa Bruno will keep the attention of mystery, and adventure lovers alike.