Martin McMillan and the Secret of the Ruby Elephant

by Elaine Russell

Verdict: A marvelous young adult mystery, with a lively plot and an appealing cast of characters.

IR Rating



IR Rating


Martin McMillan is excited to spend time with his friend Isabel, visiting Chicago six months after their adventure together in Peru.

He is a bit chagrined to also find himself expected to entertain Junya, a girl about their age who has come to Chicago from Thailand with her grandfather, to attend the opening of an exhibit featuring the Ruby Elephant, a royal Thai artifact, now on loan to the Field Museum where Martin’s parents work. But a series of disturbing incidents, including a stuck elevator at the museum and an escaped gibbon at the zoo, interfere with his and Isabel’s efforts to show Junya the city.

When Martin finds the Ruby Elephant in his backpack, only to have it stolen the moment after, their adventure really begins, as the three kids and their families travel to Junya’s homeland to track down the criminals, the elephant, and the secret treasure to which it points.

This is a marvelous young adult mystery, with a lively plot and an appealing cast of characters. The reader is given a lovely view of a beautiful country (particularly its temples) as the trio’s adventures unfold. The burgeoning teen romance between Martin and Isabel is handled subtly and sweetly, and Junya’s transition from shy stranger to puzzle-solving co-detective and friend is deft and believable. The writing is smooth, clear, and entertaining, moving the plot along and coloring in the scenery beautifully without getting bogged down in too much explanation or detail.

This is a highly entertaining read, and I look forward to the next in what will hopefully be a long and successful series. 

Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader

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