Some of you may be familiar with the “Are You Smarter Than a Ten-Year-Old?” challenge. Today, YNaija and Farafina bring you, “Can You Solve a Mystery Like the Ilesanmi Twins?” If you don’t know who the Ilesanmi twins are, we are happy to give you the gist of the twins and their cousins. If you want more, you’re going to have to buy the book. Or, here’s an idea, pre-order by clicking here.
All right, now that you’ve pre-ordered, let’s get right into it. If you’ve read the first book (yes, there’s a first book. And no, you do not need to read that one to be able to enjoy this one. They can be read in any order), you’d know that the Ilesanmi twins and their cousins are a group of smart children with a knack for sniffing out and solving mysteries.
The author, Dunni Olatunde, is a public speaker and the author of Lilies Among Thorns. The first book of the Ilesanmi Twins series, Mystery at Ebenezer’s Lodge, was shortlisted for the 2019 Nigeria Prize for Literature.
Here’s an excerpt from Grandma’s Treasure
Finally their grandmother’s birthday came and the air was filled with anticipation. They gathered once again on the same balcony. They watched the gateman open the gate for a large white van. The caterers had arrived. Grandma had been a bit worried that they would be late, and she wanted everything ready on time.
“Grandma will be happy now,” Kehinde said. “I think the caterers are the only ones we are waiting for.”
“Let’s get dressed,” Bosun suggested.
“Good idea,” Kehinde agreed.
It wasn’t long before the guests began to arrive one after the other. It was as if they had all agreed to get there at the same time. Despite the fact that their grandmother had put 4 p.m. on the invitation, it was customary for people to arrive even an hour later. Yet most of the guests seemed to arrive rather early.
Grandpa had to tell the gateman to leave the gate wide open after a while because he kept getting up every few minutes to open it. The front and back gardens were decorated with potted plants and beautiful fabrics that hung in loose folds on the fence in harmonised colours.
A buffet table had been set along one side of the fence and was filled with delectable dishes carefully selected by Grandma. Each guest’s table was covered with blue brocade tablecloths and napkins and set for six guests, and they were being filled very quickly. Bosun and Nosa moved a table to a corner of the yard for them to sit to watch the guests and play a game they called “who’s what?” which involved guessing what each guest did for a living.
“He looks like a dentist,” Nosa said gesturing towards a bald man talking to another man.
“Hmm…” Bosun held his chin and observed the man. “You may be right. I can just imagine him in his white coat with a weapon in his hand.”
The others laughed.
“Yes,” Kehinde agreed. “Getting ready to yank out your tooth.” She said “yank out” with such force that both Folake and Taiwo cringed.
The boys thought that was funny. While they were laughing, a woman with thick glasses walked past.
“Teacher,” Kehinde remarked.
“That was easy,” Bolu said. “But take a look at that man over there.” He pointed to a man among a group of young people talking loudly and laughing raucously. “I wonder where Grandma met these ones. They don’t look anything like her crowd.”
“Maybe they are her former students,” Taiwo said. “Or neighbours.”
“Former students or neighbours? You are supposed to choose. We are playing a game here, remember?” Bosun said.
“I don’t think they are neighbours,” Nosa said. “I have never seen them before.”
“Okay, hmmm…” Taiwo began and then she shrugged. “Former students?”
“I know the answer to this one,” Kehinde said, sounding all wise and pointing towards the side of the house. “Look who’s coming towards them with drinks.”
They all looked in the direction she pointed and spotted Ranti heading towards the noisy group with drinks held in both hands high above her head.
“I should have guessed,” Bolu said.
Ranti shared the drinks round her group amidst a round of applause and loud cheers, as if they were not noisy enough already.
“What a noisy bunch,” Kehinde commented. “You would think they were the only ones here.”
“They are probably all like her.” Bosun sounded disapproving.
“Spoilt,” Kehinde said.
“Will you both stop,” Taiwo reprimanded them. “Just because they are Ranti’s friends does not mean…”
She had not finished her sentence when a loud cheer rose from the guests and she turned to see their grandmother emerge from the back door of the house with their grandfather beside her. She looked gorgeous in a blue and white lace gown with a full skirt that swished around her ankles as she walked.
She had on a headgear made from a woven fabric that looked like a giant blue rose in full bloom. But what seemed to draw the most attention was the blue jewel nestling in a bed of diamonds that lay on her chest just below her collar bone and there was not an eye that was not fixed on it.
There was a loud applause and the guests who were sitting rose up one after the other clapping their hands. The cousins rose too and craned their necks to see very well.
“The King’s Eye,” Folake gushed and held both hands together.
“It looks even more beautiful now, if that were possible,” Bosun said.
Amidst the reaction of all the guests, Kehinde couldn’t help noticing that Ranti’s crowd had gone silent. The noisy young man was staring at Grandma with his mouth wide open, and looking around, she saw he was not the only one. But Grandma didn’t seem to notice as she went around greeting each guest and savouring their comments of approval on her dressing, especially her lovely jewellery.
Do you think you can solve a mystery better than them? Oh, why don’t you include a backup plan by preordering here?
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Political Journalist, Analyst and Social Change Advocate with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.