The Mystery Package Essay Contest

The Mystery Box

There’s nothing more mysterious than a locked box. Whether it’s a literal strongbox, an empty coffin, the inner workings of a scientist’s mind, or an underground prison cell, there are those who will use any means necessary to unlock the secrets of…THE MYSTERY BOX.

With this anthology, bestselling author Brad Meltzer introduces twenty-one original stories from today’s most prominent mystery writers. In Laura Lippman’s “Waco 1982,” a young reporter stuck with a seemingly mundane assignment on lost-and-found boxes unwittingly discovers a dark crime. In Joseph Finder’s “Heirloom,” a scheming neighbor frightens the new couple on the block with an unnerving tale of buried treasure. In R.L. Stine’s “High Stakes,” a man on his honeymoon gets drawn into a bizarre bet involving a coffin–a bet he may pay for with his life.

From the foothills of Mount Fuji to Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp, from a physics laboratory in wartime Leipzig to an unusual fitness club in Boca Raton, these sometimes terrifying, sometimes funny, and always suspenseful tales will keep you riveted to the page.

edited by Brad Meltzer, published April 2013 by Grand Central Publishing

Authors: Steve Berry, James O. Born, Tony Broadbent, Jan Burke, Joseph Finder, Angela Gerst, Joseph Goodrich, Libby Fischer Hellmann, S.W. Hubbard, Mary Anne Kelly, C.E. Lawrence, R.T. Lawton, Laura Lippman, Catherine Mambretti, Katherine Neville, Stephen Ross, Karin Slaughter, Tom Robb Smith, R.L. Stine, Jonathan Stone, Charles Todd

ISBN-13: 978-1455512348

To purchase, visit one of the following:


Books A Million


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Mystery Doors Open Much for Essay Winners

Posted 10 months ago by Heather H

Posted in eBooks & eAudiobooks, Education, Fiction, Literature, Poetry & Graphic Novels, New, Programs, Science Fiction & Fantasy and Teen | Tagged with essay contest, essay winners, fairytales, key to happiness, mystery door, potenial , ruth venner, science fiction, syria, syrian refugee and time travel

My trip to the door started in Homs, Syria.  When the war started in 2011, snipers were on top of buildings killing people. – Yazan Kassab, Third Place, Grade 7

A door to a life free from war.
A door to our long term memories.
A door to your future potential.
A door to happiness.

This year’s Ruth Blank Venner and Mary Jane Blank McCormick Essay Contest winners’ found a diverse range of wonders behind their mystery doors. The 20th annual contest's competition was steep! Eighteen judges poured through nearly 1,100 entries, choosing 36 winners and honorable mentions.

The reception where winners are invited to read their essays to friends and family is always one of my favorite days of the year at the Library. Why?

Because the essays are touching.
Because they are creative…and funny!
Because students put their heart into writing them.
Because it means a lot...

It means that we are encouraging our younger generations to be writers and more importantly, to imagine the possibilities. The possibilities of what three wishes could do (our 2015 theme), of how they would rule our nation as president (our 2016 theme), and of what lies behind the mystery door (this year’s theme). Looking for a good cliffhanger? Watch this two minute video of some of the students reading either the first or last line from their essays.

Hearing students read this year’s essays…
I laughed – a bossy brother, gumdrops that taste like veggies, haha!
I grew hopeful – a door to our own potential, a key to happiness.
I shed a few tears – a Syrian refuge, a door to our long-term memories – so many poignant pieces.

And now, I invite you to read the essays - see how they make you feel as well:

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