Here lies Linc

(2011)
Here Lies Linc

This easy to read mystery takes place in an unusual setting. The story depicts the legends centering on Iowa City’s Oakland Cemetery’s Black Angel monument. Linc (Lincoln Raintree Crenshaw), 12-years-old, and his mother, Lottie Landers, an absent-minded professor who studies burial customs, live in a house bordering the cemetery. Linc’s struggle in starting public school and leaving his private Home-Away-From-Home School, known as the Ho-Hos brings many challenges. His struggles in junior high and his and his mother’s grief over their father’s sudden death are problems that are resolved at the conclusion of the story.

Linc is determined to be just a normal kid with a normal social life. Everything goes according to plan until his first research assignment, Adopt-a-Grave Project, takes his class to the local cemetery to study graves. When he finds out that his mother is to lead the tour he convinces her to pretend he’s just another student, but the plan backfires. He decides to be cool by researching the Black Angel, the scariest grave in the cemetery. As Linc and a new friend, Delaney, discover the truth, they also discover a secret linked to Linc’s own family.

Additional dilemmas that arise include: Linc’s run-in with the new warden of the cemetery; his relationship with his old friend, Jeeter, the cemetery’s handyman; his relationship with a former classmate, Mellecker, a popular 7th grader; the mysterious woman who visits the Raintree gravesite each Monday; his relationship with an elderly neighbor, Mr. Krasny, who helps Linc translate the strange epitaph on the base of the Black Angel; and the mysterious connection to his father with the grave adopted by Delaney.

The story ends with Delaney and Linc presenting their reports to their family and friends in front of the Black Angel Statute. Each chapter of the book starts with actual epitaphs from gravestones around the world.

There are additional notes from the author about the Black Angel Statue and its background. The story is recommended for grades 4 through 8.

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