Poison Most Vial
by Benedict Carey
Murder in the lab! The famous forensic scientist Dr. Ramachandran is stone-cold dead, and Ruby Rose’s father is the prime suspect. It’s one more reason for Ruby to hate the Gardens, the funky urban neighborhood to which she has been transplanted. Wise but shy, artistic but an outsider, Ruby must marshal everything and everyone she can to help solve the mystery and prove her father didn’t poison his boss. Everyone? The list isn’t too long: there’s T. Rex, Ruby’s big, goofy but goodhearted friend; maybe those other two weird kids from class; and that mysterious old lady in the apartment upstairs, who seems to know a lot about chemistry . . . which could come in very handy.
This is definitely a great Middle Grade read about friendships and misjudging people at first and how you can change your opinion when you get to know someone or need them.
Ruby Rose's father works in the great DeWitt forensics lab as a janitor. He's been accused of killing the great forensic scientist, Dr. Ramachandran in the lab. But Ruby knows he didn't do it, he had no reason to do it. She just has to prove it. And to prove it, she needs the help of her friend Rex. And Rex suggests the old lady in the window. She's rumored to have been famous for working with chemicals or something. But he's scared of her, he's heard from "The Minister of Information" or Jimmy Woods, that she has a glass eye and he's scared if she sneezes it'll come out. There's a very comical scene when they are visiting the woman, Mrs. Whitmore, and she sneezes. Rex, still fearing the glass eye turns the coffee table over and runs to the other side of the window while Ruby yells at him and Mrs. Whitmore just looks on in shock.
Between trying to save her father and finding clues to his innocence, Ruby reminisces about her life in Arkansas and the best friend she left behind. She's missing the country and the wide open spaces. The city is crowded and unfamiliar and dangerous. And her best friend hasn't emailed her. She misses her old life, her old friend, the old way of doing things. But, Ruby doesn't dwell on it. If anything, I don't think she dwells on her situation enough. Her father could go to jail, he's drinking too much, they have no income since he lost his job and she's far from what she considers home. She feels that everywhere is strange and that she doesn't belong. And she's right when it comes to her investigating the crime. But she's smart, too, and in investigating the crime, she begins to learn more about herself, her surroundings and the people that are in her daily life.
There are some very clever ways that Mrs. Whitmore helps Ruby and Rex and by extension her friends figure out what they need to free her father. And in return Mrs. Whitmore gains a sense of something more. And Ruby and Rex make two new friends that are living on the other side of the world from the projects where they live. It's a great mystery and fun reading about Ruby and Rex and Mrs. Whitmore.
This is a very clean read and great for Middle Grade and up. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I received a review a review copy of this from the publisher Amulet through Net Galley free of charge. This did not affect my review in any way.