Chasing Vermeer

By: Hanna Dworkin


This story all starts out when three people get mysterious letters from an anonymous person, saying they need to solve a mystery about Vermeer, a famous painter.

Calder and Petra, who live in Hyde Park, are neighbors. One day, while walking to school, they become friends. Later, A Lady Writing (a painting by Vermeer) is stolen while in transit from Washington D.C. to Chicago.

Also, in New York, a kid named Frog was kidnapped.

The person who stole the painting said he/she stole it because some paintings done by Vermeer weren't actually done by him.

Calder and Petra are determined to find her after Petra has a dream about the painting.

Petra finds a book called Lo! by Charles Fort in Powell's bookstore.

The kids look all around for the painting, using blue M&Ms, their neighbor (Mrs. Sharpe), and there crazy 6th grade teacher (Ms. Hussey) to help solve the crime.

Calder works at a used bookstore called Powell's. When making a delivery to Mrs. Sharpe, he saw The Geographer, another one of Vermeer's works. Later, Mrs. Sharpe, Petra, and Calder had tea.

Calder and Petra look all around in places like Mrs. Sharpe's house, the university, the school basement, but they don't become successful until they go to Delia Dell hall.

Many strange coincidences happen with the number 12. There are 12 pentominoes in a set, and Calder and Petra turning 12 on 12/12. Later, Petra and Calder learn that the painting is on the 12th staircase at Delia Dell Hall.

The person who stole the painting, it turns out, was Fred. Fred was Tommy's stepdad. Calder and Tommy were best friends, until Tommy moved to New York. Frog was Tommy's neighbor, and he was found in Washington D.C.

The real reason Fred (real name Xavier Glitts) stole A Lady Writing was because someone offered him $60,000,000 for it.

The letters were all a set up, but Mrs. Sharpe, Ms. Hussey, and Mr. Watch (owner of Powell's bookstore) all received the letters.


Chasing Vermeer takes place in Hyde Park, Chicago, in Illinois. Calder and Petra both go the University of Chicago. A Lady Writing was stored in Delia Dell Hall. Other places in chicago, like The Art Institute, were important to the story as well.

Character Descriptions:


There are many themes presented in Chasing Vermeer. One theme in this novel is that kids are just as important as adults. Petra and Calder solved a crime that the FBI couldn't. For instance, Mrs. Sharpe didn't know who was the thief, and she was much older than Calder and Petra.

Another theme of Chasing Vermeer is to never give up. After Calder and Petra found the wrong painting in the basement, they didn't give up, but they kept looking and looking until they found A Lady Writing.

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