Chasing Vermeer

Chasing Vermeer

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Blue Balliett, Illustrated by Brett Helquist

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  • Publisher: Scholastic US
  • Format: Paperback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 190mm x 18mm | 322g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2005
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0439372976
  • ISBN 13: 9780439372978
  • Edition statement: Reprinted edition
  • Sales rank: 57,106

Product description

This bewitching first novel is a puzzle, wrapped in a mystery, disguised as an adventure and delivered as a work of art. When a book of inexplicable occurences bring Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen- seemingly unrelated events connect, an eccentric old woman seeks their company, and an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the centre of an international art scandal. As Petra and Calder are drawn clue by clue into a mysterious labyrinth they must draw on their powers of intuition, their skills at problem solving, and their knowledge of Vermeer. Can they solve a crime that has left even the FBI baffled?

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Author information

Blue Balliett is the author of several bestselling, acclaimed mystery novels, including Chasing Vermeer (a Book Sense Book of the Year and an Edgar Award winner), The Wright 3, The Calder Game, and The Danger Box. She writes in the laundry room of her home in Chicago, Illinois, and you can find her online at www.blueballiettbooks.com. Brett Helquist was born in Ganado, Arizona, and grew up in Orem, Utah. He entered Brigham Young University as an engineering major, but soon realized this was not the right choice for him. Having decided to take time off from college, he headed to Taiwan where he stumbled into a job illustrating English textbooks, which he enjoyed. There, a friend introduced him to an illustration student, also from Brigham Young University. This introduction inspired Brett to eventually switch majors. After spending a year in Taiwan, he went back to BYU and transferred to the illustration department. In 1993 he received a fine arts degree in illustration.

Customer reviews

By TeensReadToo 19 Sep 2010 5

I think the fact that I had never heard of CHASING VERMEER before I picked up a copy at the bookstore helped in my enjoyment of it. After I finished reading the book, I read with interest other reviews, which is usually my habit after I've written my own review. I like to see what other readers thought of a story, or how similar--or, in some cases, dissimilar--my own thoughts and feelings are from other readers. I was surprised to see that many had touted CHASING VERMEER as a THE DA VINCI CODE for the younger set. I was surprised by the supposed hype that the book had generated. I was surprised, in fact, by the way I was caught up in the story myself. Although I can't comment on it's similarity to THE DA VINCI CODE (I'm one of probably only a handful of humans on the planet who hasn't read it!), I can say that CHASING VERMEER is a mixture of mystery, art, precociousness, and ingenuity that made it a joy to read.

Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay live down the street from each other in Hyde Park, share the same birthday, and have as the same sixth-grade teacher, the wonderful Ms. Hussey, at University School. It's rare to find a teacher who allows her students to have a say in what material they will cover, and both Petra and Calder are aware of this. When Ms. Hussey asks the students to discuss with an adult a letter that changed their life, most students are baffled. When the assignment fails, Ms. Hussey instead takes them on a field trip to the Art Institute--where the worlds of Petra, Calder, Ms. Hussey, and Vermeer collide.

Who was Vermeer? An artist, it turns out, who has several paintings attributed to him that some members of the general public don't agree were done by the painter himself. Suddenly, Petra and Calder's world is filled with a strange book entitled "Lo!", a painting known as "A Lady Writing," an old lady named Mrs. Sharpe, a man who owns a bookstore, a set of twelve pentominoes, a bunch of frogs, and a few bags of blue M&M's.

CHASING VERMEER is, quite simply, an art mystery in the style of Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, but more interesting and complex. This is a delightful read, and I can't wait to read THE WRIGHT 3, the next story in the adventures of Petra and Calder.