Philipa, Sam, Thomas and Max, are all performers at Mr. Dumphrey's "Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities and Wonders." Each of the tweens has a special freakish ability which they use as they begin to investigate the theft of the Museum's star attraction, a ghastly shrunken head. The deeper they investigate the theft, the more people die, until suspects are dropping like flies. Is it a curse, as the brash news reporter has asserted across the tabloid headlines, or are there more sinister motives than the kids ever imagined?
This is a fast paced, gumshoe-type mystery, with lots of action and thrills. There were a few little plot holes in this story, but the fun interaction between the four kids more than makes up for it. The depression era, freak show setting is also a lot of fun, suggesting a time when Ripley's Believe it or Not kind of museums were all the rage. This is the first in the series and there are a lot of unanswered questions at the end. I look forward to the next which will be coming out in May. (362 p)