The Parker Inheritance

By Varian Johnson,

Book cover of The Parker Inheritance

Book description

When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina,
she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother,
who left the town in shame. But the letter describes
a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery
enfolding its writer. And…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked The Parker Inheritance as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Varian Johnson’s story alternates between modern and historical timelines to create a mystery that is explored from different eras and perspectives.

In the current day, Candice and her friend Brandon play detective, trying to solve the puzzle of a fortune alluded to in a note they find in Candice’s grandma’s attic. We also get flashes from the 1950s of the small Southern town where the story is set.

This a great family read that allows readers to test their detective-solving savvy while exploring meatier issues such as racism and prejudice.

AKA the book I wish I’d written. but I’m not a colored boy from the 1910s nor a 1940s Negro tennis player nor a contemporary Black girl.

Varian Johnson has so expertly woven rich heritage and unique characters in these three time periods that this book is a master class in writing. More than that, it’s a compelling story that centers on a girl who temporarily moves to her late grandmother’s house, where she finds a letter revealing the first clue to a puzzle, one that may lead to a fortune. The excitement of the plot, a page-turning mystery, also…

I love mysterious letters. And if these lead to a series of cascading events and a beautifully developed puzzle, the better. The Parker Inheritance not only includes these elements, but also takes readers on a journey to the past. When Candice finds a letter addressed to her grandmother, who was run out of town, she’s unsure if she should read it. However, when she reads about an injustice committed decades ago, she decides to decipher the clues in the letter and, along with Brandon (her neighbor), uncover the town’s hidden past.

I could not put this book down. When twelve-year-old Candice and her neighbor Brandon find a mysterious letter hidden among Candice’s dead grandmother’s things, they embark on a puzzle that leads them deep into the racist history of their South Carolina town, uncovering truths that the adults around them have tried to keep buried. Not only is The Parker Inheritance a hook-you-from-the-start mystery (it will have readers of any age burning through the pages), but it’s a story about what young people can do together when they demand justice.  

From Jacqueline's list on mysteries to keep you reading all night.

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