Treasure Hunt: The neon chicken fast food mystery

treasure hunt
Remember that one book? The one with the thing? And that really neat character? It was so good! You loved it, you carried it around with you for weeks, you swore you’d never part with it– and then it disappeared and you can’t remember the title or the author or even what the cover looked like.

Welcome to Treasure Hunt, a new feature at Here There Be Books dedicated to tracking down those pesky barely-remembered but much-loved books of yesteryear.


I read three or four books in this series when I was in elementary school. I’d found them at the library, as part of a kidlit mystery display– kidlit mysteries were my JAM when I was younger, and I read whatever I could get my hands on. I remember this series being particularly good, maybe because they reminded me a little of my own life. The protagonist, a tween girl, lived with her single parent mother in an apartment. Unlike myself, however, she solved crimes!

Here’s what I remember about the series:
One was set in the fast food chicken joint across from the protag’s apartment. It had a huge neon sign which I am pretty sure kept the protag up at night because it blazed right into her bedroom window. The mystery was either a murder or a robbery, and the protag saw something when she was staring into the neon lights one night. (I MAY be getting that last part mixed up with on of the Sammy Keyes books, but I think it was in there.)

Another book was set in a forest? Possibly the protag went to a summer camp, though I’m not sure about this. I think the mystery had to do with logging and/or lumberjacks.

I have tried searching every combination of “neon chicken mystery” and found nothing for the last few years. Do any of you remember the series I’m talking about? They’d have been written in the 1990s, there were at least three books but possibly more, and the author was a lady.

If only I’d kept a reading log when I was younger! Most of my problems re:forgotten books would be solved if I could only remember the titles of things I’d read.

Visit the Treasure Hunt archives for more misplaced but (mostly) unforgotten books. Need help finding your own lost treasure? Send an SOS to the Treasure Hunt rescue squad with as much as you can remember and be featured in the next Treasure Hunt listing.

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