The Name of this Book is Secret
The Name of this Book is Secret is a 2007 fantasy novel for young readers by Pseudonymous Bosch. It chronicles the adventures of two children, Cass and Max-Ernest, as they investigate the mysterious death of local magician Pietro Bergamo. Frequently during the course of the book Pseudonymous chastises himself for writing the secret, going so far as to change his mind and stop halfway through, only to bribe himself into completing the story with chocolate.
First edition (US)
|Series||The Secret Series|
|Genre||Mystery and adventure|
|Followed by||If You're Reading This, It's Too Late|
A sequel was published in late 2008, under the name If You're Reading This, It's Too Late. A third book was released on September 1, 2009, with the title This Book Is Not Good for You. A fourth book, This Isn't What It Looks Like, was released on August 22, 2010. A fifth book was released on September 20, 2011 and is titled You Have to Stop This.
Cass – Cassandra -- nicknamed "Cass" -- is an 11-year-old female and one of the two main protagonists of the story. She is prepared for any disasters that may occur, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, and always carries with her a backpack filled with survival gear. Thus, the narrator frequently refers to her as a survivalist. Although she prefers to do things on her own, she allows Max-Ernest to collaborate with Cass on her investigation of the secret. She is described as having pointy ears, and refers to her mother's old high school history teacher and his friend as her grandfathers. She doesn't know who her father is, or her real mother -- she is adopted (although she does not find this out until Book Two). She has a dog named Sebastian who is blind and known as the "Seeing-Nose Dog."
Max-Ernest – Max-Ernest is an 11-year-old male and the other main protagonist of the story. His parents went through their version of a "divorce" shortly after his birth, because they couldn't decide whether to name him Max or Ernest. They combined their two choices into one name, and they took their two separate houses, cut them in half, and placed them next to each other, with the mother occupying one side and the father occupying the other. They claim that while they dislike each other, they don't want to rob Max-Ernest of a childhood shared with both his parents. They don't cross into each other's side of the house or talk to each other; in fact, each parent acts as if the other doesn't exist. Max-Ernest has a speech disorder and his parents have taken him to many psychiatrists and doctors. His disorder does not inhibit his speech -- it makes him talk incessantly, until someone stops him (he also talks to himself a lot). Because of his numerous conditions, his parents mistakenly think that he has every single condition that exists. Cass is his only friend and collaborator. He also translates what Benjamin mumbles to everyone to make it audible. He ensures that every hair on his head is of equal length, for philosophical reasons -- he wants each and every hair treated with equality. He likes all school-taught subjects and likes solving riddles.
Ms. Mauvais and Dr. L – Ms. Mauvais and Dr. L are the two antagonists of the story. They seem to know the cause of Pietro's death and are desperate to find his song, which contains information about the secret the series revolves around. Once they find out Cass and Max-Ernest have his notebook, they are willing to go to any lengths to take it from them. It is also revealed during the story that Dr. L is Pietro's brother,Luciano, after Cass discovers a birthmark of a crescent moon on the back of his neck that is mentioned earlier in the book. They own a spa called "The Midnight Sun," which is run by alchemists whose mission is to search for secrets to everlasting life. As hinted several times in the book, Ms. Mauvais and Dr. L are much older than they look; they wear long gloves to hide their wrinkled skin, which only appears on their hands. They are described as dangerously beautiful. Dr L. is tall, and he has silver hair that does not get messed, tanned skin, and the whitest teeth Cass had ever seen. He also has an indistinguishable accent. Ms. Mauvais has big eyes, a very tiny waist(it is compared to Barbie's waist), stylish, beautiful blonde hair, and is covered in gold jewellery. She is hence called 'the Golden Lady' as referred by Pietro in his diary. Her voice is described as icy.
Pietro Bergamo – Pietro Bergamo is the synesthetic magician, who was given The Symphony of Smells, a box containing vials of different fragrances, from Ms Mauvais many years ago. He also wrote the notebook that Cass and Max-Ernest found, telling them about how close was he and Luciano and how they joined the circus. He had a twin brother, named Luciano (who also has synesthesia), who was kidnapped by Ms Mauvais and is now her partner, under the alias Dr L. Although the narrator often refers to him as "dead," Cass and Max-Ernest receive a note from him in code which they decipher. Pietro's initials are used at the end of the note.
Benjamin Blake – Benjamin is a boy who goes to Cass and Max-Ernest's school. He won a prize for an art show, since he has synesthesia or the confusion of the senses, and paints in an attractive yet unique way. Halfway through the book, he was kidnapped by Dr L. and Ms Mauvais, as they thought his brain would help them find out information about the Secret. He reappears later in This Isn't What It Looks Like, and goes through an immense change in character as he attended a private school run by the Midnight Sun. He looks pale, and he mumbles when he talks.
Grandpa Larry and Grandpa Wayne – Grandpa Larry and Grandpa Wayne are Cass's grandfathers. They are not her biological grandfathers, but love Cass just the same, as her real grandparents are "not around." Grandpa Larry was Cass' mother's history teacher when she was in high school; as for Wayne, it is not explained what relation he has with Cass's family. Grandpa Larry and Grandpa Wayne also own a shop established in an old, abandoned fire station that Gloria Fortune visits to drop off junk from Pietro's house, including the Symphony of Smells.
Owen – Owen is a butler whom Cass meets soon after arriving at The Midnight Sun Spa. When they first meet, he has a strong stutter and appears to be very shy but friendly. Cass and Max-Ernest soon discover that Owen is actually a spy of sorts. He helps them escape the Midnight Sun with Benjamin Blake and takes them to Cass' grandfathers. Owen's most notable characteristic is that he imitates other accents, instead of speaking normally. In the first book, Owen speaks with a slight stutter, a nautical surfers' accent and an Irish brogue. Like other staff of the Midnight Sun, he looks handsome with tanned skin and some freckles, but he does not have the wrinkled arms and hands because he really is young. He doesn't wear gloves like the others and Owen was introduced as a butler of Cass by Dr L.He is an intelligent person too.
Amber – Amber is one of Cass' classmates and described as the 'nicest' girl in school (and the third prettiest). She is obsessed with two heiresses called the Skelton sisters, thus she uses their company's lip balm called "Smoochies." Every week, she uses a new Smoochie and gives her old one to her friends and schoolmates. Cass often receives one of her Smoochies, but she assumes it's only because she feels sorry for her. Amber has a friend named Veronica, who is the second prettiest, but not very nice(she doesn't stand in fourth or fifth nicest too!).
Gloria Fortune – Gloria is a probate specialist, or a "real estate agent for the dead." When people die she clears out their homes and tries to sell their house. Cass and Max-Ernest enter their house by mistake and finds Dr.L and Ms.Mauvis. She loves to gossip, and was a guest at the Midnight Sun and identifies Cass although this time, she was nice with her. Then after the whole incident, she no longer remembers it and thinks it was a dream.
A real-estate agent for the deceased, named Gloria, finds a mysterious box called, "The Symphony of Smells," in a dead magician's house which she drops off at Cass' grandfathers' junk store. Cass takes the Symphony of Smells to school with her the next day. That day, while she investigates the reason for a rat dying in her schoolyard, she meets Max-Ernest, who talks too much, loves jokes and has divorced parents. Max-Ernest tries out one of his jokes on Cass, who tells him that his joke doesn't make sense, thus fostering a conversation between the two. Cass shows Max-Ernest the Symphony of Smells, and they decode a message for help hidden inside it. Cass and Max-Ernest come to the decision to visit the dead magician's house to find out why he needed help. Now collaborators, Cass and Max-Ernest go to investigate the dead magician's house and find the magician's mysterious journal hidden in his secret study. However, Gloria comes in with a young couple looking for a house - Ms Mauvais and Dr L. This couple is looking for the magician's journal and when they see the kids leaving with the journal, they follow Cass and Max-Ernest for hours, uttering threats. However, the kids manage to escape.
After reaching home, the kids find a riddle written on the first page of the journal, but the rest of it is empty. Cass solves the riddle on the way to school the next day, discovering that the magician's story is written underneath the double-layered pages of the journal. She and Max-Ernest read the story and discover that the magician's, Pietro Bergamo, brother, Luciano, was stolen by a beautiful blonde woman with a voice like ice when they were children. Pietro and Luciano were synesthetic circus performers, meaning that they had a rare condition in which two or more senses intertwined. Pietro believed that the Golden Lady, as he called the beautiful blonde woman, was kidnapping synesthetic children, for some reason, discovering that a young Chinese violinist with the condition was kidnapped years later by the same woman. After reading, Cass believes that the Golden Lady is Ms Mauvais, but Max-Ernest points out that this is impossible, as the story took place decades ago when she could not even have been born.
Meanwhile, an emergency is taking place at the school - Benjamin Blake has disappeared. Cass believes it was Dr L and Ms Mauvais who took the boy, having seemed them inquiring about Benjamin's art earlier at her school and having seen them jet off in a limousine printed with the words, "Midnight Sun Sensorium and Spa". However, Cass and Max-Ernest get into a fight, thus being unable to work together to find Benjamin. But Cass believes it's her responsibility to save Benjamin.
After looking through some spa brochures collected by her mother, Cass decides to pose as one of the Skelton Sisters, socialites and heiresses and calls The Midnight Sun spa to pick her up in a limousine. She is picked up by Daisy and is greeted by Dr L when she arrives. Cass then meets Owen, a stuttering young man who is to be her butler during her stay. After being subject to several spa treatments, Cass goes looking for Benjamin Blake, only to end up in Ms Mauvais' office, where Ms Mauvais tells her that there will be a surprise guest coming for dinner. The surprise guest is none other than Max-Ernest, who came to save Cass. Ms Mauvais demands to be given the magician's journal and in the commotion that takes place after she discovers several pages are missing (they were missing for Cass and Max-Ernest, as well), her glove slips off, revealing the hand of a woman older than the kids have ever seen before. Cass and Max-Ernest realize that all of the Midnight Sun members are extremely old, as they are alchemists on a search for the Secret, which they believe will give them immortality. The kids soon find out that Dr L is really Luciano, Pietro's long-lost brother. Cass and Max-Ernest and locked in their room, but Owen reveals himself as a spy and unties the children, asking them to tie him up, instead. They go to the pyramid in the centre of the spa grounds through a secret tunnel in Ms Mauvais' office and see that Dr L and Ms Mauvais are about to remove Benjamin's brain in front of a crowd of hundreds of Midnight Sun members. They throw in scent bottles from the Symphony of Smells spelling out "help" and Dr L goes mad, believing his brother, Pietro Bergamo, has come to him. However, as Dr L begins to run up the pyramid, the kids, afraid that he will see them, throw a rope down the hole in the top of the pyramid to climb down. However, the rope catches fire, forcing them to enter the room in a different way. The Midnight Sun Spa is burned down by the fire caused by the rope. Cass and Max-Ernest manage to save Benjamin and are driven home by Owen.
They then return home with Owen, having accomplished their task. A while later, Gloria drops off more boxes from the magician's house, and at the bottom, the kids receive useful gadgets from a secret sender named P.B.
- "If you're reading this it's too late". Retrieved 17 November 2010.
- "Amazon.com: You Have to Stop This(9780316076265): Pseudonymous Bosch: Books". Retrieved 17 November 2010.