When Candice Miller moves into her grandmother’s old house in Lambert, South Carolina, she doesn’t expect to find a mystery in the attic. But she finds an old, dusty box there—an old box that’s labeled for her. And in the bottom of it, she discovers a letter, the beginning of a mystery which will bring her all over the city of Lambert. It explains a mystery from the 1950s, the disappearance of an African-American family, and the injustice that was done to them all those years ago.
But solving the mystery isn’t as simple as it sounds. It doesn’t take Candice long to realize that this letter is at the root of her grandmother’s disgrace in Lambert a decade earlier. So instead of telling her mother, she keeps it a secret from everyone but her new friend Brandon. Together, they navigate hidden puzzles, uncovering the past of Lambert, the man who wrote the letter in the first place, and the family who the letter is about. But to Candice, it’s more than just a puzzle. It’s about clearing her grandmother’s name, and living the future she wants to.
The Parker Inheritance was a fun, incredible book which had me thinking at many points how awesome the puzzles were. Candice and Brandon are clever characters who manage to think of things I can’t be sure I would have myself, and both are bookworms, mentioning lots of my favorite stories! Intertwined with the story are ‘flashback’ chapters, relating the life of the family mentioned in the letter and the events leading up to what made them leave.
This book went deeper, though, because it wasn’t just about the mystery and the past. It was also about segregation in the south, social justice, and persecution. Almost all the characters were African-American, often still dealing with similar issues to those related in the flashbacks from sixty years before. These messages weren’t as obvious as they are in other books we’ve reviewed, or in many historical fiction novels. But they were also just as powerful, because it made you think how it’s set in the present day. The Parker Inheritance is completely fictional, but all it tells feels real. It’s not the main course of the story—that’s about Brandon and Candice, and the letter in the attic. But it’s still a major part of the plot, something which leaves you thinking even after you’ve turned the last page.
I would highly recommend The Parker Inheritance to kids ages ten and up.