The Spoffard family inherits an old chocolate shop from their late great-uncle. But it isn’t just any chocolate shop and twins Lily and Oz soon find out. They have been summoned to the house by a magical, immortal talking cat and rat who work for a secret agency called SMU, the Secret Ministry of the Unexplained. They recruit Oz and Lily, because of their magical family background, and their neighbor Caydon, because he is a witch, to help stop an evil, immortal genius Isadore Spoffard. Isadore was one of the triplet Spoffard brothers. He turned evil and killed his other two brothers in 1938. Now he has an evil plot to sell his immortality chocolate to terrorists. But first he needs the chocolate molds belonging to his brothers. What follows is pure craziness. There are ghosts and goblins, an elephant ghost, secret agents everywhere, and madcap adventures. Through it all the Spoffard parents are completely clueless and unaware of what their children are doing.
I like books with magic, but I am not sure what to think about this one. On one hand I found the idea of a secret agency working to solve paranormal mysteries fun. They were very James Bond/MI6 in their set up and their adventures. On the other hand I wish this book was a little more thought out. It seemed slapped together at times; like maybe Saunders thought hey wouldn’t it be cool if the cat lost all its hair here or why not have a chocolate barrier that makes rats mutate and die. Interesting ideas that didn’t always fit smoothly into the story. I also found it completely unbelievable how obtuse the parents where. Their kids are basically taken away for days at a time and their are told they are at camps and such. Camps the parents had no prior knowledge of and gave no permission for their children to attend??? I think kids might like this one more than I did, but to me it was just an ok read.