Read Mr. Samuel's Penny: An Elizabeth Parrot Mystery by Treva Hall Melvin Online


It’s 1972 and fourteen-year-old New Yorker Elizabeth Landers is sent to the sleepy town of Ahoskie, North Carolina to spend the summer with relatives. Her expectation of boredom is quickly dispelled when police sirens and flashing lights draw her to a horrible scene at the Danbury Bridge. Mr. Samuel, owner of Samuel’s Lumber Yard, has driven his car off the bridge and intoIt’s 1972 and fourteen-year-old New Yorker Elizabeth Landers is sent to the sleepy town of Ahoskie, North Carolina to spend the summer with relatives. Her expectation of boredom is quickly dispelled when police sirens and flashing lights draw her to a horrible scene at the Danbury Bridge. Mr. Samuel, owner of Samuel’s Lumber Yard, has driven his car off the bridge and into the river, drowning himself and his daughter. The medical examiner thinks it’s an accident, but the Sheriff finds fresh bullet holes on the bridge right where the skid marks are. Curiously, Mr. Samuel died clutching a unique 1909 wheat penny—a penny that is then stolen from the Sheriff’s office. Lizbeth witnesses Miss Violet’s grief upon learning that her husband and child are dead, and decides she will help by finding the penny.Her search involves Lizbeth in the lives of many Ahoskie residents. Like the owner of the grocery store, mean old Mr. Jake, who—as all the kids in Ahoskie know—hates black folks. Plenty of pennies in his till. Then there is Ms. Melanie Neely, otherwise known as “Ms. McMeanie,” who thinks the lumber yard should belong to her. And Mr. Samuel’s handsome brother Ben, who struggles to keep the business afloat after his more clever brother’s death. Lizbeth searches through the collection plates at church and in the coin jars of crazy old Aunt Ode, a strange old woman missing one eye and most of her teeth, who keeps a flask in her apron pocket and a secret in her soul....

Title : Mr. Samuel's Penny: An Elizabeth Parrot Mystery
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781929345045
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 264 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Mr. Samuel's Penny: An Elizabeth Parrot Mystery Reviews

  • Steve
    2019-04-14 21:35

    I read this book in almost one sitting. About a quarter of the way in, I almost gave up one it. Due to what I felt was some inappropriate sexual behavior involving a minor, I almost missed out on a great story. That infraction wasn't pivotal to the story and I question its inclusion. I'm sure the writer had her reasons. Putting that aside, the rest of this book was stellar. The mendacity exploded from some characters while sorrow pored from others. I was engrossed. I found myself skipping words at several spots just to hurry up and find out how a situation would resolve itself. The depth with which these characters are described is enough to bring empathy no matter what your age or ethnic background. While the title alludes to this as a mystery, that thematic element takes a back seat, much like Boo Radley while you accompany the heroine on her journey of self discovery and social awareness. This deserves a spot next to the greats in Southern literature. Fried Green Tomatoes, The Help, Babydoll, and yes, To Kill A Mockingbird. It's that good.

  • Nancy Narma
    2019-04-01 21:45

    “The Amazing Worth of a Penny and Those it Touches”In the summer of 1972, 14 yr. old city girl Elizabeth (also known as “Lizabeth”) Landers and her younger sister, Helena (“Lena”) leave their home in New York City for a much-anticipated stay with their Aunt Alice, Uncle Frank and countless cousins in Ahoskie, North Carolina. Lizabeth is always on the lookout for some excitement, but she wasn’t prepared for the strange occurrences that would haunt the town and its residents. While Lizabeth waited for her Aunt to return from the grocery store, all hell broke loose! The wailing of sirens and banks of flashing lights punctuated the night air. She pedaled her purple stingray bike, following the sounds until she reached the end of the Danbury Bridge. Uncle Frank was already at the scene with his crane. What she saw next knocked the breath out of her. The crane lifted a car from the water—one that had crashed through the bridge into the dark depths below, consuming the bodies of well-known and respected citizen Joseph Samuel and his infant daughter, Emma. With closer examination of the lifeless bodies, Joseph’s right hand, missing a finger, was balled up in a fist—and held a coin, a penny. What could this penny signify? The penny, which, along with Mr. Samuel’s other personal articles, are placed in a manila envelope, for safe keeping at the morgue. Or was it really so secure? Apparently it is not, when it is discovered that the penny is missing. It is also confirmed through Lizabeth’s knowledge of coin collecting that this is no ordinary penny. It is a rare 1909 Lincoln Wheat penny, but what makes it even more valuable is that there is a pinhole in Lincoln’s ear! Who could have stolen the penny? What caused Mr. Samuel to drive off the bridge? Was someone chasing him? Or, was someone shooting at him? It is said idle hands are the devil’s workshop and even though Lizabeth is obsessed with the puzzling case to the point of doing some sleuthing herself, she works her way into a job at the local grocery store and learns a lot about life through her interaction with her employer, “Mr. Jake”. She figures the discovery of the penny will finger the murderer. However, she gets herself into some frightening situations. Several individuals are on her “Radar Screen” including caustic, sarcastic teacher, Melanie Neely also known in town and school as “McMeanie” who could stand to gain from the tragedy, and even Joseph’s beautiful widow, Violet Samuels. Lizabeth and Lena learn some valuable lessons that summer, including that help can come from the most unexpected places (and persons) and things are not always what they seem to be. This may be a YA novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and heartily recommend that you add it to your TBR list. The Author’s descriptions and action have you feeling like you are right there in Ahoskie with the Landers girls. Well done Ms. Hall Melvin!Nancy Narma

  • ❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
    2019-04-06 05:45

    I received an ARC for review.This bittersweet book held me captive. Readers will feel each raw emotion and see the beauty in things overlooked. Fourteen-year-old Lizbeth was sent to spend time with extended family for the summer in 1972. On the first evening she is there, she watches as a car is pulled from the river. Dead inside are a man and his infant daughter. As the rest of the summer progresses, we watch Lisbeth as she encounters people in the small town. With each person, Lizbeth keeps her eyes open for signs of the person who might have been responsible for the town's tragedy. Her first impressions are sometimes changed as she slowly learns more about each person's history. Lizbeth slowly learns to have her Aunt's compassion and heart for people. She loses her naivety, and grows into herself.The vignettes of each person will at times make you ache, bring you pride, and make you want to step into the book for vengeance. There are some books with so much tragedy that I cannot bear to read them. This book walked that fine line for me but never went over it. In this book, there are many other moments filled with human compassion that soften the circumstances in life that so many are dealt.

  • Brichimt
    2019-04-06 04:30

    This book reminded so much of my experiences growing up, except it was the opposite in nature. I lived in a small town in the South with my grandparents and at the age of 14 I started spending summers with my mother who lived in New York City. In the summer of 1972 I was 15 going on 16 and anxious to make it through the summer to start my junior year in high school. Elizabeth, on the other hand was a New Yorker who annually visited relatives Down South. I hand to quickly adapt to the ways of a NYC teen and blend in with my 2 girlfriends who lived in Hamilton Grange housing projects, while Elizabeth who witnessed the horrible recovery of a father and child's drawning, was learning to develop a relationship of empathy with the community of Ahoskie, North Carolina. I never experienced a death, shooting, or really any form of violence back in those days so I guess I was lucky. - BrichimtElizabeth grew up in more ways than one as she quickly realized her summer in the sleepy town of Ahoskie was not going to be as boring as she expected...Go to my blog to read more at

  • krlittleton
    2019-04-20 01:34

    Sweet, simple story. The plot is almost secondary, as it is merely a thin frame on which the author weaves her vignettes. It is a childhood as seen through the eyes of an adult looking back. Melvin beautifully articulates all those simple moments in your lifetime that you do not realize are significant and impactful to who you become until much later. Well-drawn characters, each with a heartbeat and solid sense of self. The novel is a loving thank-you letter those people in the author's life whom she loves and who made her who she is. It is nice to read a book that has something beautiful to tell me, and yet lets me figure out what that is with the right language, the right tone and the right characters. I very much look forward to reading whatever else Melvin has to say!

  • Michele
    2019-03-30 04:45

    I received a free ARC from Poisoned Pen Publishing for review. When I first started reading this, I was disappointed. There was nothing I recognize in her description of Ahoskie, NC (admittedly, I have only recently moved to the area). The Ahoskie setting is THE reason I wanted to read this book. However, the richness of her characters and the depth of her story has made me forget any disappointment. In fact, the "who-done-it" seems secondary to the story. I really think this was one of the best books I've read this year. The relationships of the characters and the sense of the racial tensions of the time will stay with me for a while.

  •  wade
    2019-04-18 04:34

    On the surface this is the story about a man who crashes his car with his small child in it off a bridge. They both die and his body is found clutching a rare 1909 penny. When the penny goes missing a young girl visiting from New York takes it upon herself to find out what really happened that night and there was much more than met the eye. The plot is not the important thing about this book - it is the values that we see in some of the characters. There is also much more than meets the eye with them too.

  • Richard Mann
    2019-04-05 04:46

    The main character in this young-adult mystery novel is Elizabeth Parrot Landers, known as Lizbeth. She's a 14-year-old girl sent from New York with her little sister to spend the summer in a small North Carolina town under the care of a wise aunt and uncle. Lizbeth is related to at least half the town. She finds the experience to be joyful, interesting, and pleasant-until Mr. Samuel, the owner of the local lumber yard and pillar of the community, drives his car off a bridge, drowning himself and his baby daughter. Lizbeth is passing by just after the event and sees the bodies, the grieving widow, and a bit more.Mr. Samuel was found to be clutching a rare 1909 wheat penny when his body is recovered. Shortly afterwards, the penny disappears from the sheriff's office. Lizbeth determines that she will search the town until she finds that penny.The story of Lizbeth's summer takes off from there. Along the way, she experiences terror, immensely satisfying happiness, grief, discovery, and lots of good, strong family love. She learns to treasure her irritating little sister. She learns not to judge people and that things are rarely as they appear on the surface. She realizes how special her talents are. She learns how to survive and prosper in the 1960s South.Have you gone to sleep yet? I'm sorry to subject you to such a string of platitudes, but they are all accurate, truthful, and describe this story perfectly. Let me see if I can now move us beyond the dull but accurate descriptions and give you the flavor of the story.MILD SPOILER ALERT: I'm sorry to take away the gradual revelation over the first 20 or so pages, but Lizbeth is African-American, so coming from middle-class New York City to small-town North Carolina in the 60s presents challenges to Lizbeth. Much of the drama and humor arises from racial dynamics, but it is not the overpowering center of the story. It's just part of the situation, which is probably why the author chose to reveal the racial element slowly. The author is a Northern big-city African-American woman who spent her summers with relatives in North Carolina, so she knows exactly what she's talking about. I was surprised by the mildness of racial situations. I liked that.So far I haven't told you why it's a mystery. They discover that Mr. Samuel was shot at before swerving off the bridge, which makes it a murder. The missing penny might well be the key to identifying the murderer. Lizbeth certainly thinks so.The beauty and charm of this story lie in the characters and the language. I loved the colorful southern colloquialisms and metaphors. Almost lyrical descriptions of things such as a summer morning after the rain add charm. Lizbeth befriends the forbiddingly grumpy Mr. Jake, the grocer, almost by accident. She shares grief with Miss Violet, the widow of Mr. Samuel and becomes her close friend. She suffers from the vicious tongue of the resentful Melanie Neely, known to all as Mrs. McMeanie. She stands off a group of white bullies who want to take her new bicycle. She learns why all in her family love her impressive aunts and eccentric grandmother.It's fun to be immersed in a young teenager's mostly carefree summer in a small town. It's relaxing to be enfolded in the love and care of the extended family. In fact, if I had any problem with this book, it would be that I was tempted to think things were moving too slowly (like this sentence) at about the two-thirds mark, with the mystery itself having been seemingly shelved for a time. As I began to notice this thought, the pace picked up. I made at least three cries of "Oh, no!" as I anticipated terrible things about to happen. I also cried in alarm when lightning literally struck in the middle of a page. There is no shortage of excitement.I enjoyed this book. While it is a young-adult story, it is perfectly enjoyable for adults, even Really Old Guys like me. Oh, yes, one more thing: she finds the penny.

  • Lelia Taylor
    2019-04-15 02:44

    Others have said it and I will, too—this book is reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, not in the core story but in going along with Scout on her journey of emotional growth and disillusionment and in her recognition that standing up for right in the face of injustice shows true strength, even heroism. Mr. Samuel’s Penny is not that deep but Lizbeth is a girl on a quest, a girl who wants to do what’s right and who will become a different person by the end of the tale.Along with the character study, this is also a consideration of social issues. For instance, there are overtones of racism as in this passage: …it seemed as though the cotton had sucked the life out of the stem that had given birth to it. It was dry, hard, and brown. It was as if it had given its very existence for the white cotton, without ne’er an apology. Nothing new really, if you understood how life worked. The poor brown stem working hard, toiling in the dirt day and night, forever sacrificing so the white cotton ball could become all that it could be.or this one regarding Lizbeth’s father: Every painful moment he walked on this Earth, shielding us from the awfulness of simply being. Stripes on his back from the daily whipping of being a Negro man in America.The second quote is the one that puzzles me more. The story takes place in the summer of 1972 but her parents had moved to New York City before she was born in 1958 so I assume the stated whippings occurred in the early to mid-50’s. Being a Southerner born a bit before then, I’m certainly aware of horrendous inequities but I never once heard of daily whippings. That’s not to claim they didn’t happen but the phrasing makes it seem commonplace.Ms. Melvin embraces words and phrases with a dexterity not always easy to find. Most of the time, the language flows much as it does in any well-written novel but then something catches the eye. When Lizbeth sees a woman known as Miss McMeanie, she describes her: She was a schoolteacher, used sarcasm as her weapon of choice to punish her students. A woman equally small and petty in height and compassion, as I would find out on my own soon enough.And there’s this: Sometimes, when the air would blow down low to the earth, then twirl about the door like a bouquet of butterflies, and the ring-a-ling of the bell was warm with sweetness, Miss Violet would appear in the store.One thing confused me—the narrator introduces herself as Elizabeth Parrot Landers but the subtitle on the book cover on retail sites (and my electronic copy) is “An Elizabeth Parrot Mystery” while the cover on the author’s Facebook says “An Elizabeth Parrot Landers Mystery”. I’m sure a correction will be made on the retail sites so readers looking for the book shouldn’t let this distract them from the search. The mystery of the penny and what happened on the bridge is a satisfactory puzzle but it’s Ms. Melvin’s turn of phrase and the pleasure of getting to know Lizbeth that makes this a book well worth reading.

  • Laura
    2019-03-25 03:40

    Lizbeth Landers and her younger sister Lena are spending the summer with relatives in a small North Carolina town. Far from their home in Queens, fourteen year-old Lizbeth thinks she will be bored, but soon learns that small towns and relatives have secrets, some of which can be deadly.Soon after arriving, there is a horrific car accident in which a man and his daughter drown. A mystery surrounds the accident, and deepens as the penny the dead man clutches in his hand disappears from the evidence gathered at the scene. Lizbeth is determined to find the rare 1909 penny, sure that the person with possession of it will be the one that caused the accident and consequently the deaths of the driver and his toddler.On her search, she learns about life and herself while interacting with her relatives and other residents of Ahoskie. The teen makes assumptions about life and people in her 1972 world. She learns that things are not always as they seem and you have to really get to know people before judging them or supposing you know their motives for how they react.Mr. Samuel’s Penny is more of a coming-of-age Young Adult book than a Young Adult Mystery. It shows the growth of Lizbeth during the summer into a young lady that is much wiser than she was before she left New York. She learns of life, death and the definition of family that reaches much further than blood ties.The mystery of the 1909 penny and the car accident is brought to light in the final chapters, but it almost seems to me this is the subplot, not the plot. Lizbeth’s search for the penny brings her into situations that allow her to connect with other characters that she might not have had contact with, but the mystery and penny take a back seat to her growth.The only plot point that bothered me was Lizbeth’s nine year-old sister. She was mentioned coming to meals, wearing outfits that were not hers, and getting into dangerous situations that leave the reader breathless. But she is not mentioned at the beginning during the accident. Lizbeth, her aunt and uncle are at the scene – where is this younger girl? Lena was told to go play at a little girl’s house while Lizbeth and Aunt Alice go to the laundromat; did she spend the whole summer over there unless she was needed as part of the “action”? I know that the focus of the novel is on Lizbeth, but after introducing a little sister, she has to be accounted for in the rest of the book, especially key scenes at Aunt Alice’s home.This is Treva Hall Melvin’s first book, and well worth searching out to read. It is a quick read, with an underlying story of growing up told subtly and smoothly along with the mystery. Touching on topics you would not expect adds another layer to this novel that is deceptively complex, yet still easy to read.Copyright © 2015 Laura HartmanDISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

  • Victor Gentile
    2019-03-29 21:32

    Treva Hall Melvin in her new book, “Mr. Samuel’s Penny” Book One in the Elizabeth Parrot Landers Mysteries series published by Poisoned Pen Press introduces us to Elizabeth Parrot Landers.From the back cover: It’s 1972 and fourteen-year-old New Yorker Elizabeth Landers is sent to the sleepy town of Ahoskie, North Carolina to spend the summer with relatives. Her expectation of boredom is quickly dispelled when police sirens and flashing lights draw her to a horrible scene at the Danbury Bridge. Mr. Samuel, owner of Samuel’s Lumber Yard, has driven his car off the bridge and into the river, drowning himself and his daughter. The medical examiner thinks it’s an accident, but the Sheriff finds fresh bullet holes on the bridge right where the skid marks are. Curiously, Mr. Samuel died clutching a unique 1909 wheat penny—a penny that is then stolen from the Sheriff’s office. Lizbeth witnesses Miss Violet’s grief upon learning that her husband and child are dead, and decides she will help by finding the penny.Her search involves Lizbeth in the lives of many Ahoskie residents. Like the owner of the grocery store, mean old Mr. Jake, who—as all the kids in Ahoskie know—hates black folks. Plenty of pennies in his till. Then there is Ms. Melanie Neely, otherwise known as “Ms. McMeanie,” who thinks the lumber yard should belong to her. And Mr. Samuel’s handsome brother Ben, who struggles to keep the business afloat after his more clever brother’s death. Lizbeth searches through the collection plates at church and in the coin jars of crazy old Aunt Ode, a strange old woman missing one eye and most of her teeth, who keeps a flask in her apron pocket and a secret in her soul.Nancy Drew has come a long way since she solved mysteries. Now she needs to make way for her successor, fourteen year old Elizabeth Parrot Landers. Ms. Melvin has packed so much story into Lizbeth’s first mystery and that is not really the highlight of the case. Yes, there is a murder. Yes, there is the business with the penny. What really captures your interest are all the supporting players. For the summer Lizbeth is a transplanted New Yorker in North Carolina. North and South, things are definitely different there. “Mr. Samuel’s Penny” is loaded with twists and turns and red herrings that will leave you guessing all the while you are flipping pages to find out what happens next. Ms. Melvin has provided us with a clever young heroine inside a fairly exciting book.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Partners In Crime. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  • Rich in Color
    2019-04-04 21:39

    Review copy received from publisher.Whether or not you’re going to enjoy Mr. Samuel’s Penny is largely dependent upon on your preferred ratio of mystery to character development and exploration. I’m happy to say that Treva Hall Melvin does an excellent job of centering the reader in Ahoskie and the summer of 1972. Lizbeth’s adventures and the people she meets while living with her aunt and uncle are definitely some of the book’s greatest strengths.Lizbeth is a solid protagonist, and her narration is charming. Hall Melvin has a way of describing people, places, and events in such a way that grabbed my attention and stuck in my memory, like the first glimpse of Aunt Ode, Mr. Jake’s grocery store, or the scene where Miss Violet breaks down over her husband’s and daughter’s deaths. These descriptions are vivid and work together to bring the characters in this book to life. Lizbeth’s Ahoskie feels lived in and like its residents existed long before Lizbeth’s visit and will continue on with their lives after she heads back home.Of the many standout characters in the book, I was particularly fond of Aunt Alice, Mr. Jake, and Miss Violet. After Lizbeth, Aunt Alice was probably my favorite character, especially as she helped Lizbeth understand that everyone had a story behind the who they appeared to be. She is a solid, safe presence in Lizbeth’s life, and her compassion as she deals with Miss Violet is particularly touching. Mr. Jake was a character I didn’t expect to like, but the more Lizbeth found out about him, the more I (and she) liked him. I wish Miss Violet had been featured more in the story, if only because I truly loved the few interactions she had with Lizbeth.While the characters are an asset to this book, the mystery was a bit of a letdown for me. Lizbeth’s investigations throughout the story essentially boiled down to two tactics: run across some motivation for X person to have wanted to kill Mr. Samuel and then search around them for the distinctive penny. I was hoping for a more convoluted investigation, but the moment Lizbeth found the penny, she found the murderer. The murder often took secondary importance in my mindRecommendation: Get it soon if you are looking for an easy, comfortable read with a charming and observant protagonist who makes the most out of a 1972 small-town summer. The murder mystery takes a back seat to character exploration, so if you prefer a more thriller-esque or complicated flavor to your mysteries, Mr. Samuel’s Penny is a book you’ll probably be happier borrowing from the library.

  • Diane Coto
    2019-03-28 22:32

    Mr. Joseph Samuel and his baby daughter, Emma, died when his car went over the Danbury Bridge. He was clutching a rare 1909 wheat penny in his hand. The sheriff’s office held onto the penny. But, now it’s missing. Adult Elizabeth (Lizbeth) Landers is telling the story of the summer of 1972 when she was fourteen and her sister Helena (Lena) was nine. They lived in New York, but were spending the summer with their Aunt Al (Alice) and Uncle Frank in Ahoskie, North Carolina. As the rescue team pulled the car up, the medical examiner deemed it to be an accident. Later, further evidence would suggest it was murder.Lizbeth is a numismatist (collector of coins). She is heartbroken for widowed Violet Samuel and sets out to make her own list of possible suspects who may have murdered Mr. Samuel. First on her list is Mr. Jake, the white owner / operator of the town’s grocery store. All the kids think he hates black folks. As soon as she gets an opportunity, she seizes possession of his coins to look for the missing penny.While the novel is considered a mystery, I found it to be more of a literary fiction. It is not just a story about Lizbeth’s investigation. It is a story of her family relationships and her exposure to the racial bias that was still in existence in small town America in 1972. It’s a good story but it’s just not a mystery as I think of them. I like novels with realistic expectations. Therefore, a small thing bothered me that may not bother most. Lizbeth is fourteen. She often catches Lena wearing her clothes. While it may be possible for a nine year old to be big enough to wear fourteen year old clothing, I feel pretty certain that a bathing suit fitting perfectly between the two would be another issue. I rated Mr. Samuel’s Penny at 3.5 out of 5.

  • Curtis
    2019-03-31 03:33

    Elizabeth "Lizbeth" Landers is spending the summer with her aunt, uncle, and sister in a small North Carolina town. While she was certainly looking forward to the visit, she could not have expected what the summer held in store. Not long after her arrival, there was an accident on a nearby bridge - but what looked like an accident to everyone at the scene looked a bit more suspicious to Lizbeth, especially when she learned that the driver was holding a rare penny in his hand when he was pulled from the water. As an avid collector of rare pennies herself, Lizbeth sets out on the case - often passively so - to track down the missing penny and the truth about that fateful evening on the bridge.I tend to be a bit particular about mysteries when I read them. I prefer not to have a strong idea of the outcome of the story until closer to the end because otherwise why spend the time reading it. And I feel like Treva Hall Melvin has achieved that here. While I definitely found myself having suspicions throughout the book, they shifted enough over time and there were enough twists and turns that the ending hit me right before it happened. And the characters and interactions that are secondary to the mystery are also just enough to truly build out the world (and sometimes distract from the whodunnit plot) without getting in the way of the main story.Disclaimer: I received a free advance reviewer copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Carolyn Injoy
    2019-04-05 03:28

    I received a free kindle copy of Mr. Samuel's Penny by Teva Hall Melvin, published by Poison Pen Press, from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.This is a brilliantly written story of fourteen-year-old New Yorker Elizabeth (Lizabeth) Landers visiting her southern cousins in North Carolina in 1972. It is a different world but as her visit continues, she begins to see similarities in rural area & the people who live there to her northern home.A tragedy strikes this small town when Mr. Samuel Johnson drives off a bridge & he & his infant daughter drown. He loses a finger in an effort to release his baby from the seatbelt, but in his fisted hand is a special wheat penny with distinctive markings. It was placed in an evidence bag but disappears from the Sheriff's office. Lizabeth decides that she will help solve the mystery of this missing penny, even though it might put her own life at risk. Can she find it in time to make a difference?I gave this well written story five stars. It had a delicate hand in describing race relations in the south. It also had a full cast of well fleshed characters.Link to purchase:

  • Emma
    2019-04-05 23:28

    When 14-year-old Elizabeth Landers arrives in the small town of Ahoskie, North Carolina, she fully expects to have a boring vacation. Things turn out very differently that summer in 1972 almost as soon as Elizabeth and her sister arrive. A grisly car accident catches the town's attention and Elizabeth is at the scene when the bodies of Mr. Samuel and his young daughter are recovered. Mr. Samuel is clutching an unusual 1909 wheat penny in his hand—a penny that is stolen from the sheriff's office. Already interested in pennies herself and haunted by the crime scene, the protagonist decides to use part of her summer trying to find the penny for Mr. Samuel's widow. Melvin walks the line between adult nostalgia and the authentic voice of a teen throughout this novel that is set to start a new series. Unfortunately, the narrative never seems entirely comfortable with either tone. Numerous biblical analogies and references to Christianity lend a decidedly non-secular tone to the entire novel. Elizabeth is still an approachable narrator, who will find her fans in certain readers.*A slightly different version of this review appeared in an issue issue of School Library Journal from which it can be seen in various sites online*

  • Becky
    2019-03-31 00:31

    MR. SAMUEL’S PENNY by Treva Hall MelvinThis young adult book is a cross-over for adults, perfect for Parent-Child Book Groups.New Yorker Lizbeth, 14, is spending the summer with her small town North Carolina aunt and uncle. On her very first day in Ahoskie a murder occurs that intrigues her because of the special penny the deceased is clutching in his hand. Determined to discover both the penny and the murderer, Lizbeth discovers the slowness of small town life along with prejudice, compassion, violence, love, greed and generous neighborliness among the residents and relatives she encounters. Realistic characters and situations carry the slow moving plot along. 1972 in the South is clearly presented. Watching Lizbeth grow in maturity and change over the summer is a pleasant foil to the murder mystery. The importance of family and respect, the keeping and telling of secrets and the surprising revelations are all good topics for discussion.5 of 5 stars

  • Chris
    2019-04-09 00:44

    Oh, my, this book was NOT what I expected. I 'thought' it was an upper middle grade book appropriate for 12ish year olds; a story about a young girl from New York spending the summer in North Carolina and helping solve a mystery tied to a Lincoln Penny.Was I ever wrong! I read it all the way to the end to give it a fair review but I do NOT RECOMMEND this book. Not for adults and certainly NOT for the suggested age range of 12-18.It's a shame because Treva Hall Martin has a wonderful 'voice'. She has a fine grasp of her characters & the settings are marvelously descriptive. Martin writes very, very well and I think I would like to read something else by her-just not this. In amongst a wonderfully nuanced story, her gratuitous inclusion of inappropriate sexual content involving children is just plain filth. It adds nothing to the narrative and in fact is detrimental to the book as a whole. Yes, I was given a copy of the book to review but this is my own opinion.

  • Vicki
    2019-03-25 21:33

    This is a good book considering it’s the author’s debut. The story is well written and kept me reading. I liked the writing style, it was very descriptive and I felt I was there with Lizbeth, trying to figure things out, especially where that penny went.Lizbeth was a great main character, and I loved that even at 14 yrs. old, she wanted to solve the mystery. The secondary characters were interesting, some were a bit peculiar, and together they all made the book a fun read, even through the rare slower parts.I really enjoyed Mr. Samuel’s Penny, it has many aspects to it. There is a mix of mystery, bits of humor, social issues and more. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery.

  • PopcornReads
    2019-04-06 02:40

    Book Review & Giveaway: Treva Hall Melvin always wanted to be a writer but somehow ended up becoming a criminal attorney instead. Still, she never forgot her childhood dream and has now written Mr. Samuel’s Penny, which is based on events in her own childhood and is also her homage to To Kill a Mockingbird. This historical mystery takes us back to 1972, when civil rights laws were fairly new and people of all colors were still feeling their way in this new era, especially in the South. It’s also a fish-out-of-water story, a story about family, and a story about eyes being opened to what the world is really like (the good, the bad, and the ugly). Sound interesting? Oh, and I’m delighted that the publisher has provided us with a copy that someone will win in our pay-it-forward giveaway!

  • Barbara
    2019-04-11 22:36

    14 year old Elizabeth and her younger sister Lena go to Ahoskie, North Carolina to spend the summer with their uncle and aunt. The first night of their visit a father and his daughter drive off a bridge and are killed. He is found holding a Lincoln head penny in his hand. A bullet hole is found in the bridge so the event is labeled as a murder. But when the police reports come out, no mention is made of finding a penny. Elizabeth knows a great deal about pennies as she collects them and decides she will solve the case. While doing just that there is a lot of interaction with members of the small town. A sweet story, an easy read and very enjoyable.

  • Jamie
    2019-04-04 00:57

    I received this book from The Poisoned Pen Press in return for an honest review.Frist off, I had a hard time getting into the story. Once I was able to figure out the time period and the characters I was able to engage more and understand what exactly was going on. I found that the mystery of Mr. Samuel's Penny (the title) got lost in the everyday happenings of Elizabeth's visit with her aunt and uncle. I did enjoy the story, but felt it was lacking as a mystery and was really more of just a fiction story with a bit of a mystery thrown in.

  • Tabatha
    2019-04-10 03:38

    **i received a copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for my honest review**I'm surprised by all of the 4-5 start reviews. This book was a let down for me. Flat and predictable story line with very mediocre characters. I was hoping for so much more.

  • Patricia
    2019-04-03 01:38

    This is a great book for young and not so young mystery readers. I hope to see a series with Elizabeth Landers as our maturing character.