Blue Balliett’s sequel to Chasing Vermeer takes Petra, Calder and Tommy on another whirlwind adventure to solve an architecture mystery. This time, the 3 are focused on saving the famous Robie House, designed by world renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, from (fictional) destruction. As in her first novel, Balliett uses puzzles, mathematics, coincidence, art and literature to move the mystery along. In The Wright 3, she also explores the relationships between Petra, Calder and Tommy. Can old and new friends fit together? Are three brains really better than two?
Sadly, Balliett’s conclusion is severely lacking. There is so much build-up that the ending just feels…rushed. Some of the supernatural elements (which, to me, were some of the most intriguing parts) are never explained and all of the clues Petra, Calder and Tommy explored don’t neatly add up to how the novel turns out. The concept of red herrings is discussed several times in the book, and I wonder whether Balliett tossed some of these “extras” in to act as red herrings to the reader. It’s a shame, though, because I think following those leads may have been more interesting.
Despite the abrupt ending, I was overall satisfied with The Wright 3. It prompted me to contemplate the relationships between art, architecture and life and got me doing some outside research on the Robie House and the life of Wright.