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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

The Absent Author by Ron Roy has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is one of many books in the "A to Z Mysteries" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Donald David Dunkin (known as Dink) wrote a letter to his favorite mystery writer, Wallis Wallace. He invited the author to come to town, sent a photo of himself and asked Wallis to return the favor. Wallis wrote back and affirmed his intent to visit. He didn’t send a picture.

The story begins on the day Wallis is scheduled to sign books at a bookshop in Dink’s hometown. Nervous and excited, Dink goes to the crowded bookstore with his best friends, Josh Pinto and Ruth Rose. When the author doesn’t show up, the anxious bookstore owner, Mr. Paskey, cancels the signing.

Dink is more than disappointed. He’s worried. His letter from Wallis stated that nothing short of being kidnapped would keep him from attending the signing. As Dink shares his concerns with his friends, a soft-spoken woman approaches and introduces herself as Mavis Green. She says she is a fan of Wallis as well. She also has a letter from the author, in which he indicates he was being followed. Dink is determined to figure out who has kidnapped Wallis. His friends and Mavis join him in the search.

Dink concludes that if Wallis had followed his itinerary, he would have landed at the airport, ridden in a taxi, checked in at the hotel and then attended the book signing. Dink calls to confirm that Wallis was on his flight. The group also talks with the taxi driver and the hotel clerk. The kids hear sounds near Wallis’ hotel room. When the clerk, Mr. Linkletter, opens the door to the room, they find a man tied up in it.

The tied-up man tells them he is Wallis. Despite his admission, Ruth Rose isn’t convinced. She points out some subtle clues she’s noticed during the time they’ve spent with Mavis Green. The girl suggests Mavis is actually Wallis Wallace.

Mavis admits this is true; “Wallis Wallace” is her pen name. The man in the hotel room is her brother who, like Mr. Paskey and Mr. Linkletter, was in on her secret. She tells the kids she is working on a new mystery book about children searching for a missing author. She wanted to see firsthand how real kids would go about solving the case. She says she will be dedicating her next book to Dink, Josh and Ruth Rose.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Mavis Green and other adults deceive the children for a time so the author can do her research. They explain themselves in the end.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

6 to 10


Ron Roy






Record Label



Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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