The Case of the Lost Lookalike by Carol Farley, 1988.
“I want to swoop in and spout out the answers to baffling mysteries while everyone around me blinks in befuddlement. I want to reveal the amazing solutions to puzzles while everyone gasps in admiration. Except the criminal, of course, who gasps for other reasons.”
— Flee Jay Saylor
This is the second book in the the Flee Jay and Clarice Mysteries.
In The Case of the Lost Lookalike, Flee Jay and Clarice are spending the summer at a lake with their aunt, and someone there says that Clarice is the very image of a little girl named Caroline who was apparently kidnapped 40 years ago. Little Caroline disappeared from her own bedroom one night after her mother died under rather suspicious circumstances. Most people assume that Caroline is dead, too. The girl’s father is now a strange recluse who lives on an island in the middle of the lake.
But, as the girls puzzle over this old mystery, other mysterious things begin to happen. A woman produces pictures of the missing girl which look nothing like Clarice. Then, her shop is broken into, and the pictures of Caroline disappear. When someone persuades their aunt to let the girls visit the old recluse on the island, the man’s reaction is surprising, and they come to realize that Caroline’s disappearance might not be the real issue at all.
In a way, this story is two mysteries in one because Clarice figures out what really happened to Caroline when she disappeared years ago at the same time that they unravel the mystery that is affecting people who live in the small town by the lake now.
What I like best about this series is the sense of humor and the way that Flee Jay says things as she narrates the story: “I mean, new cottages and magic lakes are terrific and all that, but nothing can ever take the place of a peanut-butter, brown sugar, and banana sandwich.”