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Sheila Turnage Books In Order

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Publication Order of Mo & Dale Mysteries Books

Three Times Lucky (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Odds of Getting Even (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Law of Finders Keepers (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Island of Spies (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Chapter Books

Trout the Magnificent (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Compass Guide to North Carolina (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Haunted Inns of the Southeast (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon

Sheila Turnage is an award-winning children’s fiction novelist best known for the novel “Three Times Lucky.” The debut novel in the “Mo & Dale Mysteries” series was a critically acclaimed work that went on to win the 2013 Newbery Honor. Growing up, she always wanted to become an author right from the first grade when she wrote a great story that her teacher told her was excellent. She believed her teacher and took to heart her words, determined that she was going to become an author. Living in a rural farming community, she also learned a lot from members of her family that were great storytellers. Growing up, she not only learned from them but lived for the weekends the family went to the local library. Among the novels she loved during this time were the likes of “The Hardy Boys” “Tom Sawyer” and “Peter Pan,” which her parents believed were safe yet exciting. But rather than study Creative Writing or something like literature in college, she went on to study cultural anthropology. Nonetheless, she has said that it has been an asset for her writing career since it is a study of realities that made her learn how to think and write about the world around her.

While she is best known for writing “Three Times Lucky,” she never did start out writing children’s fiction. Sheilah’s first venture into writing was the 1998 published “Compass Guide to North Carolina” that is a time warp of folklore and general information about the region. However, she spent more than three decades studying Creative Writing at Pitt Community College and finally decided to pull the trigger and write fiction in 2012. She was inspired to write the “Mo & Dale Mysteries” when the voice of the lead character Miss Moses Lobeau kept stalking her imagination. She came as a scrappy sixth grader with plaid sneakers that kept saying how about you write my story. Sheila did not even know that she was writing a children’s books as she was just listening to the character in her head. She wrote the manuscript for “Three Times Lucky” over the course of three years before it was bought by Dial Books for Young Readers and published in 2012. She currently lives with her husband in North Carolina in a house that once belonged to her grandparents. Since Sheila was brought up on a farm, her home is full of chickens, deer, rabbits, turkeys, and coyotes.

Mo & Dale Mysteries by Sheilah Turnage are set in North Carolina where the author lives and has lived for most of her life. They are set in an imaginary town named Tupelo Landing that is full of elements to be found in the author’s world. From the hurricanes, the slow dark water creeks, to the small-town cafes and even the rhythm of the language, Turnage gets a lot of it from her own experiences and settings. However, the characters in the novel are not based on any person in her real life and they tend to be more intriguing that her day to day life. For instance, the author has never solved a murder and does not run a detective agency. Asked about why she wrote the novel with children as the leads, she said that children tend to look at things in a different way and do not have many filters that adults typically apply to situations. Mo and Dale look at their cases very differently than your ordinary investigator since they know the people and the town while Starr the adult investigator probably does not. The children are bold and creative thinkers and will act on ideas they have fast to ensure that their trails do not go cold. Their stories are further enhanced by the fact that they cannot drive and hence have to catch rides, walk or bike when they are conducting their investigations. They also have to deal with curfews and rules and sometimes outsmart adults that may be more intelligent and knowledgeable.

“Three Times Lucky” is the winner of the Newbery Honor and is a hilarious introduction to the “Mo & Dale Mysteries.” Miss Moses LoBeau is a sixth-grader from Tupelo Landing in North Carolina where no secret is sacred and everyone’s business is fair game. Eleven years ago she had washed ashore in the hurricane of the century and has never stopped making waves. She hoped to one day meet her “upstream mother,” but for now lives with a fabulous café hostess named Miss Lena and the café owner, a Colonel who has lost his memory. LoBeau has a tough attitude, a strong will and determination to protect the people she loves no matter what. As such, when a lawyer saunters into town investigating a murder, Mo and her best friend immediately join the investigation. They are determined to find the truth since Dale and the Colonel are the main suspects in the murder of the townsman. The novel is full of grit, wisdom, and humor that can melt the sternest Yankee.

Sheila Turnage’s “The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing” is set in a small town and just like any small town it has a lot of rules. When Miss Lana bids accidentally at the auction, she is horrified when she wins and has to buy the old inn. What she did not know was that the fine print has a provision for a ghost. Mo and Dale under their Desperado Detective Agency cannot wait to start investigations to resolve the ghost’s identity that remains a mystery. They have an assignment in history and they intend to interview the ghost and find out who he is so that they can get extra credit. But it is not long before they realize that there are several other places that are just as haunted apart from the inn. There are also people who are being haunted by events that happened in their past. Mo and Dale get down to work tracking down the ghost at the inn and in the process also learn a lot about the ghosts of many other people. It is a hilarious southern story that is excellent reading for children and adults alike.

“The Odds of Getting Even” opens to Tupelo Landing having the trial of the century. The Desperado Detective team of Mo and Dale are set to testify against Macon Johnson, a confessed kidnapper and Dale’s father. Dale’s nerves are frayed but Mo wants to get even with the man who caused so much pain to her loved ones. She expects the man to get convicted given all the evidence against him. But Macon Johnson is a cunning man and steers the course of events in a different direction. In no time he escapes and the authorities lock down the town with Dale’s brother’s life threatened. The Desperado Detectives are back to square one and have to take on a client they would never have taken had the circumstances been just a little different. It is a heartwarming story that blends action, mystery and family matters yet maintains its candor and humor.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Sheila Turnage

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