Hi, Lauren Magaziner! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read.! Thank you for celebrating Case Closed: Mystery in the Mansion’s cover with me! Tell us about Carlos Serrano.
Lauren: Carlos is struggling. He and his mom have been running into money problems lately, and he is too embarrassed to tell his best friend, Eliza. It’s especially hard for him when his mother gets the flu on the morning of her first big case in months: an investigation at the mansion of a millionaire named Guinevere LeCavalier, who has been receiving death threats from someone who wants to get their hands on her late husband’s secret treasure. If Carlos’s mom loses the case, her detective agency business will surely go bankrupt. So Carlos—like the loyal, dependable, caring, totally Hufflepuff person he is—decides to solve the case for his mom, taking along Eliza and her wild little brother, Frank.
|Cover Illustration Credit: Petur Antonsson|
What do you love about choose-your-own-adventure books?
Lauren: Everything! (Is that a cop-out answer?) I love how the interactivity gives readers power. The reader is in the driver seat, and their choices have real consequences. To read a pick-your-path book is to shape and mold the story yourself.
What do I love about writing pick-your-path mysteries? The puzzles! In many cases, the solutions to the puzzles direct you to the next page to flip to. I’m also a big enthusiast for alternate endings, and here I got to create thirty of them!
What is the biggest challenge about creating 30 different endings to the book?
Lauren: I think the biggest challenge with the endings was coming up with new and distinct ways for the case to close. I have some good endings, some wicked endings, and some crash-and-burn endings (Literally… the place goes up in flames in one dead end!).
Surprisingly, though, the middles were way harder than the endings.
Because this book is a mystery—and not strictly an adventure—I needed to make sure that I knew which red herrings and which clues were dropped in which plotlines, and I needed to make sure that no matter which path the reader takes, the mystery still makes sense. Lots of moving parts that I have to get just right.
Please finish these sentence starters:
Eliza is a character that provides a differentiated learning experience. Whenever there are puzzles in the book, it’s up to the reader to solve them in order to advance. But if you’re having trouble with a puzzle, you can get a hint from Eliza, who is Carlos’s very smart and very logical best friend. She won’t complete the puzzle for you, but she’ll walk you through how to approach it. Case Closed has word puzzles and number puzzles and logic puzzles, secret codes and ciphers—and Eliza is there for you always, to provide scaffolded versions of these puzzles whenever you need!
Las Pistas Detective Agency is in major trouble. Hopefully you can help save the agency from going under by figuring out who’s been sending death threats to Guinevere LeCavalier!
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me how I juggle all the plotlines and even begin to start writing these. Here are three clues to that mystery:
Look for Case Closed: Mystery in the Mansion on August 14, 2018.