Black Circle (39 clues)Title: The Black Circle
Author: Patrick Carman
ISBN: 9780545060455
Pages: 168 pages
Publisher/Date: Scholastic Inc., c2009.

“Nicely done, dweeb. Now we’re stuck at the airport with no money. Nellie’s going to love us when we wake her up and she discovers we’ve stolen her phone, spent most of our cash, and need a ride from the airport. And we don’t even have any doughnuts yet! Could it get any worse?”
“I think it just did,” said Dan.
Amy’s heart sank as a black stretch limo pulled up to the curb behind them, and a door opened. Ian and Natalie Kabra, a Clue-hunting team infinitely more dangerous than the Holts, had arrived on the scene. (8-9)

Amy and Dan are on their own after a mysterious note and picture of their parents sends them to Russia without Nellie or their cat Saladin. The mysterious NRR seems to be helping them, providing them with passports, money, and guidance. But is NRR really an ally. Or is this another elaborate plot to send the brother and sister off track? And are Amy and Dan really forming another alliance with yet another clues team?

I want to know the background of Irina. This book and it’s predecessor have alluded to a murky past for the Russian, possibly involving a dead child (or so I’m assuming). It’s nice to see the competition evolving as well. Instead of splitting up to cover all the destinations that the clue alludes to, they make a pact with the Holts, and I’m really thrilled that they held up there end of the bargain. It makes the teams that much more three dimensional, especially when in the beginning of the series it was the Cahills vs. everyone else. All the characters are becoming much more three-dimensional. I feel like I need to retrace the books though, and rediscover the other clues, because they have to add up to something eventually. Right?