Three Times Lucky

The book "Three Times Lucky" is a mystery book written by Sheila Turnage. It's about two kids living in a small town who try to solve a mystery about a mysterious murder and kidnapping taking place.



The book takes place in North Carolina, in a very small town called Tupelo Landing. This town is home to the two main characters, Mo LoBeau and Dale Johnson. (But I'll talk about them later.) It's also home to a lot of bad hurricanes, a murder, and a kidnapping. (but I'll also talk about those later.) The book also takes place in the beginning of summer, sometime around the 80s or 90s (I think, it never really says it but the way the characters act, it seems around then). Tupelo Landing also appears in some of Sheila Turnage's other novels. Below is a map of the town.

Main Characters

There are quite a few characters living in Tupelo Landing, so I'll just explain the main ones. Mo LoBeau is the main character. Mo was born during a terrible hurricane. She was separated from her mom by the hurricane and washed up on the shores of Tupelo Landing. Mo is very smart as she starts her own detective agency with her friend called "Desperado Detectives." She is also very curious about her real mother (her "Upstream Mother" as she calls her). She writes letters to her and puts them in bottles to send them upstream to her. Dale Johnson is the second main character and Mo's best friend. Dale is Mo's partner in the Desperado Detectives.  Dale can be very cowardly throughout the book. An example is in the first chapter when Mo wakes him up. Dale thought she was a demon crawling into his room.


Other Main Characters

There are many other main characters too. The Colonel is the person who found Mo in the hurricane. He also lost most of his memory in the hurricane. The Colonel carried Mo to safety. He talks in a military way all the time and calls Mo "soldier." There's an old rumor that the Colonel has a suitcase full of cash but it's not true. Miss Lana is Mo's caretaker along with the Colonel. She owns a cafe that's very popular in Tupelo Landing. Miss Lana made the "Three Day Rule" at Mo's house, where she or the Colonel can only be out of the state for three days at a time, after the colonial stayed away for a weeks and she started to panic. Mr. Jessie is a grumpy old man who lives by himself with not much neighbors. But then one night, Mr. Jesse was found dead on the creak by his house. Joe Starr is a detective who was investigating a bank robbery in another town when Mr. Jesse turned up dead. He and the Colonel don't like each other and suspects the colonial as being involved with Mr. Jesse's murder.

Plot Summary and Conflict

Mo thinks that her summer is looking good so far. But that's before Mr. Jesse was murdered, Miss Lana and the Colonel were kidnapped, Dale's brother Lavender was injured in a car crash, and a giant hurricane hit. At the beginning of the summer, after Mo was done working at Miss Lana's cafe, she and Dale went to visit Lavender, Dale's brother. Lavender told them that he was racing in the Sycamore 200 (a big race car race) and he asked Mo and Dale to time laps for him. They gladly accepted. During the race, on the 31st lap, Lavender's back tires started billowing smoke and he crashed. The doctor told him to stay at Dale's house for the night. Mo wanted to stay at Dale's night too so she called the Colonel to ask. He demanded her to come home and when she refused, the Colonel asked to speak with Dale's mom. After talking, she looked frightened as she told Mo and Dale the news. Mr. Jesse was dead. Soon after, Mo and Dale make the Desperado Detectives. A few weeks later, Miss Lana went missing and a note was found in Mo's house. What happened to her? Read to find out!

About the Author

Sheila Turnage wrote two nonfiction books and one picture book but "Three Times Lucky" is her first middle school chapter book. She grew up in North Carolina, where the book takes place. She made a sequel (that I want to read) called "The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing." Right now she lives on a farm with her husband, a dog, a cat, a dozen chickens and a flock of guineas.

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