Chasing Vermeer

A Mystery Within A Mystery

We are reading the book Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. In this book, two characters Petra and Calder find themselves in the center of an international art scandal. They are drawn into this mystery, clue by clue and must draw on their powers of intuition, problem solving and their knowledge of Jan Vermeer, the dutch painter.

Throughout the book, many clues are given to the reader to help solve the mystery. The clues involve, the use of pentominoes and illustrations. Pentominoes are a mathematical tool consisting of twelve pieces. Each of the pieces is made up of five squares that share at least one side. To print out your own set of pentominoes, or learn more about the book, click here.

On this website you will find copies of the pictures and letters from the book. These will help you uncover the clues necessary to solve the mystery. If you look carefully at Brett Helquist's chapter illustrations, you will find a hidden message. It is related to the pentomino code in the book, but not presented exactly in the same form. A certain living creature plays a part in deciphering this code, and pieces of the message appear in the artwork at regular intervals that create a pattern within the book. HINT. This pattern is even,,,,, but odd. it has as many pieces as a set of pentominoes.

Good luck. Click on the links below to get started.

To learn more about Jan Vermeer, click here.

To see other "Chasing Vermeer" ideas, click here.

Calder's Code

Letter to Calder, Page 56.

Letter to Tommy, Page 59. Page 5 Page 12 Page 29 Page 37 Page 48 Page 53 Page 68
Page 78 Page 85 Page 91 Page 102 Page 117

Page 122

Letter to Tommy

Page 131 Page 136

Page 139

Letter to Tommy

Page 150
Page 161 Page 168 Page 178 Page 194 Page 202 Page 209 Page 222 Page 228 Page 253 Pentominoes