Riddle in the Mountain, a 2006 Independent Publisher Book Award winner for juvenile/young adult fiction

Riddle in the Mountain
Published by Dogtooth Books
(Nomad Press) 2005

Winner of the 2006 Independent Publisher Book Award for juvenile/young adult fiction, Riddle in the Mountain was also chosen as a Book Sense Children's Pick for Winter 2005/2006!

More than anything, Kathy Henley is afraid of the dark, of ghosts, and of midnight whispers that only she seems to hear. So how did she ever get talked into ghost hunting in the middle of the night with her brother David and his obnoxious new friend Frank?

Maybe if they had found a ghost, things would have been different. Instead, they found something else—or something else found them.

Suddenly it’s 1879 and Boulder, Colorado is no longer a thriving city but a small, dusty town filled with horses, mules, and wagons. With no food or money and wearing conspicuously modern clothes, Kathy, David and Frank have only a riddle to help them—a riddle that warns of treachery and death. Bound together by their quest, the threesome struggles to follow elusive clues. They fight a fire, ride a freight wagon, and explore a hard-rock mining camp nestled high in the mountains. Along the way, they meet Rocky Mountain Joe—scout, Indian fighter, painter, and poet—as well as a Cornish miner who hears tommyknockers in the mines. But, in the end, only Kathy can solve the riddle’s last line and bring the trio home—a line that leads her deep into the mountain where she must confront her fear of the dark and its whispers.

  Illustration by Frank Riccio

Reviews

Book Sense Children’s Pick:
"This is a fun time-travel story about three children who are transported back to an old western mining town, where they must work together, using their different skills and knowledge, in a race against time to solve a riddle and return home."
--Carolyn Schrader, Southwest Book Roundup, Capitan, NM

Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA):
"Riddle in the Mountain is a young adult novel about a mysterious riddle that traps a brother, a sister, and their friend in a scheme that bends time. Following midnight ghostly whispers, the trio is suddenly transported to Boulder, Colorado in 1879; in the blink of an eye, their thriving home city becomes a dusty western town. Caught in an unfamiliar land with no food or money, wearing out-of-place modern clothes, their only hope is to solve the riddle that is their one clue to the way home. A rollicking adventure of discovery and coping with sudden changes, highly recommended [for] school library shelves."

The Reading Tub:
"The plot grabs the reader immediately. The twists and turns that the adventure takes keep the reader engaged. The time travel to Boulder, Colorado, 1879, provides some perspective on the life and times in the mining towns in the late nineteenth century."

  Illustration by Frank Riccio

School Library Journal:
"Gr 4-8- …This is a respectable historically based fantasy that promises sequels. The three characters are individuals, and the story moves quickly, but its strongest feature by far is its well-researched look at 19th-century Colorado."
--Walter Minkel, New York Public Library

Wands and Worlds:
"Riddle in the Mountain is a fast-paced, fun story which combines mystery and fantasy with the Old West and a bit of Cornish mining folklore. Whether you like mystery, fantasy, or your tastes run towards historical fiction, there's something here for everyone. The Old West mining town is vividly drawn, and the characters are interesting. There's a few surprises along the way which add to the fun. A pleasure to read! An appendix at the end contains historical notes on Colorado history, the Cornish in America, and mining folklore. Riddle in the Mountain would tie in well with curriculum units on the history of the Old West in general and Colorado history specifically. It also touches on aspects of immigration in America and Cornish folklore."

Where to Buy the Book

Riddle in the Mountain can be ordered at your local bookstore or from any online bookstore including Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Autographed copies or copies with autographed bookplates can be ordered directly from the publisher, Dogtooth Books.
©2006 Daryl Burkhard. All Rights Reserved.