It's 1938 era America. The Shipley family has fared better than some because Captain Charles Shipley, ten year old Henry's father, still had his job as ship's captain. Henry, his mother, and his two year old sister are aboard the Lake Erie Shoreline returning to their home in Ohio after meeting lawyers over a small inheritance matter. While exploring the train and drawing, Henry meets heiress E. S., a Nancy Drew wannabe, with a photographic memory, and, wonders of wonders, Sam, a talking, crime-solving calico cat. Alternating chapters recount Ellie's kidnapping and Henry, Sam, and Mr. Knockwood - the conductor, and their heroic efforts to find her and the culprits responsible. Fast forwarding to 2012, Sam imparts additional words of wisdom - "It's what we do with the time that we're given that really matters." "What counts in life is the simple things: family, good friends, and a warm bed. Fresh milk. And, of course, sardines."
Mark Twain Award Preliminary Nominee 20161-17