Mystery at Blackbeard’s Cove, by Audrey Penn, is a fun adventure set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Theodora McNemmish is the matriarch of Okracoke island, and a relative of Blackbeard the pirate. When she dies, she leaves four local children a mystery which may lead to a treasure, and a secret task: to bury her at sea so she can join Blackbeard’s ship as a ghost. After they accomplish the task, the four children try to decipher the mystery, only to find themselves locked in a dark tunnel by an evil descendent of Israel Hands, Blackbeard’s second in command. The four children must work together to try to escape the tunnel before it’s too late.
Mystery at Blackbeard’s Cove is an exciting story that will appeal to kids who like creepy stories, dark tunnels, and skeletons. The characters are not very well developed, and I had trouble distinguishing between the two older boys, but the adventure more than makes up for these deficiencies. The story alternates between the children and other characters, including the slimy Zeek Beacon and the ghost of Mrs. McNemmish, but it is at its best when it follows the children. The section of the book where they try to bury Mrs. McNemmish at sea is outrageously funny, in a morbid way, as everything that could possibly go wrong, does. The book reveals a wealth of historical information, about the pirate Blackbeard, the Underground Railroad, and the local history of the Outer Banks.