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Case Closed?: Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science    by Susan Hughes & Michael Wandelmaier order for
Case Closed?
by Susan Hughes
Order:  USA  Can
Kids Can, 2010 (2010)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a book (aimed at ages 8-12) to intrigue both young readers and their elder siblings and parents. Susan Hughes' Case Closed? takes us through 'Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science'. Colorful illustrations by Michael Wandelmaier enhance the revelations of secrets long held by these 'age-old mysteries', and a Glossary at the back provides definitions of scientific terms.

The cases (not all closed) are: Egypt's first female pharaoh, Hatshepsut, last heard of around 1457 BCE; Buddhist monk/explorer Hsu Fu, who set sail from China around 215 BCE; The City of Ubar, which disappeared from an Arabian Peninsula desert around 300; The Anasazi who vanished from southwestern North America around 1300; explorer Sir John Franklin lost in the Canadian Arctic around 1847, while seeking the Northwest Passage; Russian princess Anastasia last known of in 1918; climber George L. Mallory, lost on Mount Everest in 1924; airplane Star Dust, last seen in Argentina in 1947; and Israeli submarine INS Dakar lost in the Eastern Mediterranean in 1968.

Susan Hughes introduces the 'dedicated sleuths from different fields who have been seeking answers to nine disappearances, both ancient and recent' and encourages readers to 'discover which of the vanished have been found!' Techniques and equipment used by those hoping to solve these puzzles include a sea voyage on a bamboo raft, CAT scans, NASA and satellite images, computer simulations, DNA analysis, orthophotographs, metal detectors, and sonar readings. These are fascinating accounts and Case Closed? would make an excellent choice for any budding young scientist on your holiday gift list.

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