BERNIE MAGRUDER is your average 11-year old boy, growing up in Middleburg, Indiana. He lives in the Bessledorf Hotel on Bessledorf Street, which is managed by his father. His mother writes romance novels, none of which have been published yet. His 20-year old sister Delores works at the Bessledorf Parachute Factory. His 19-year old brother Joseph is a student at the state veterinary college. His 9-year old brother Lester is a brat. His pets included a great dane named Mixed Blessing, two cats known as Lewis and Clark, and a parrot called Salt Water.
Bernie's problems all arise from the fact that the Bessledorf Hotel is owned by Mr. Fairchild who lives out of town, but close enough to see the headlines in the Middleburg newspapers. And anytime the hotel is shown in an unfavorable light, Mr. Fairchild threatens to fire Mr. Magruder and then the family will be out in the streets, tossed about like the leaves in the wind, as Mr. Magruder is fond of saying. And since the Bessledorf is the only hotel in town, any bad press in Middleburg reflects badly in Mr. Fairchild's eyes for the Magruders.
You see, Mr. Fairchild doesn't care for bodies being found in the hotel (or worse yet, disappearing from the hotel), workers at the town's parachute factory being gassed, or killer bats being found in the belfry of the town church. So if any of these things happen, Bernie is always at the forefront of the action, ready to do what he must to save his family from being out in
With his trusty companions Weasel and Georgene, Bernie Magruder investigates all the strange happenings in Middleburg, and usually figures out what's going on long before the local constable, Officer Feeney, catches on.
These books are tagged for ages 8-12, but younger kids can enjoy them too. There's usually a bit of action, but the situation is quickly resolved. That touch of suspense is nice, but not too scary for the younger crowd.
Naylor won the Best Juvenile Edgar for Bernie Magruder and the Bats in the Belfry, and both The Bodies in the Bessledorf Hotel and The Face in the Bessledorf Funeral Parlor were Edgar nominees. As well, Naylor's non-Bernie book Witch Weed was an Edgar nominee, and Night Cry actually won an Edgar.
Respectfully submitted by Greg Harness.
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