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        Menace In The Walls by N. L. Eskeland 

(download first chapter)

 About Author

Cover Design by Holly Smith


 Sale Price: $9.95 

eBook Format Price:$4.99   

Release Date: May 2004.

Distributor: Quality Book, Baker and Taylor

For a limited time, you can order a signed copy of "Menace In The Walls"  

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  Synopsis of “Menace in the Walls”    

    Menace in the Walls, published by Science2Discover Inc., is a children's fiction based on a true and controversial story that took place in the mid-1990s in Cleveland, OH. During an outbreak of pulmonary hemorrhage resulting in deaths of several young infants, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), led by Dr. Dorr G. Dearborn of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, investigated  the first 10 cases and found an association between the deaths and water-damaged homes containing the toxic mold, Stachybotrys. Since 1993, Dearborn cites 47 cases of unexplained lung hemorrhages in infants in northeastern Ohio. Sixteen of those infants have died. According to Dr. Dearborn, ninety percent have come from water-damaged homes containing toxigenic fungi and environmental tobacco smoke. It appears that smoking triggered the hemorrhages, but the molds caused the underlying damage. Dr. Dearborn read "Menace in the Walls" and advised N. L. Eskeland on the medical aspect of the disease.

    A scientist with many physicians in her immediate family, author N. L. (Lucia) Eskeland combines medicine, science and intrigue in a new medical mystery for children.

   Menace in the Walls begins with 13- year- old Joshua helping his physician mother at  Cleveland General Hospital during a winter flood.  Later during the summer, while working in a research laboratory, Joshua stumbles on a menace that has claimed the life of his beloved horse, Mandy. He is determined to solve the mystery. During the course of the book, Joshua uncovers his sister Kelley’s inadvertent link to a sinister plot involving the mysterious deaths of infants. Readers are faced with the question of whether Joshua can solve the case without putting his life and Kelley’s in danger.


Excerpt from “Menace in the Walls”       

His heart pounded as he quickened his pace. Kelley started to moan and grumble.  “I can’t do it! I’m tired!”

From the numbers on the exit doors, Joshua gathered that they had gone down twenty-five floors already.  He had no time to think about his aching legs.  The intruder’s steps became louder and louder.

Joshua heard Kelley's shriek, followed by a thump.  Then a strong pull on Joshua’s collar almost cut off his airway.  He turned around to face his assailant.



“Educational, factual, heart-wrenching, and a must read for students, parents, health professionals, employers, insurance companies, and educators. Today we are faced with current controversies regarding the life-altering and, often times, life-taking consequences of chemical exposures. Most physicians, employers, government agencies, parents and scientists doubt that these invisible illnesses are physical in origin. Menace in the Walls is so compelling that it has the ability to become the paradigm shift to facilitate the change in consciousness as to how these toxic substances are viewed and dealt with.

As a doctor specializing in chemically induced immune system disorders, author, and health researcher, I have never read a piece of material that has the ability to be captivating for the reader, yet in the process, “plant” the seed that will hopefully germinate into a greater understanding of toxic dangers and possibility save many lives.

Every person who plays any role in education, should be required to read this book.” Dr. Gloria Gilbère, N.D., D. A. Hom., Ph.D. Author of  “I was Poisoned by my body”, “Invisible Illnesses” and “Nature’s Prescription Milk" 


Menace In The Walls, by N.L. Eskeland, sets the stage for tragic and traumatic events with its opening line:  "'Let us through!' the medics pleaded ..." Ms. Eskeland takes us right into the hospital where tragedy, along with a good measure of high adventure, begin to play out. The mystery menace captures the heart, mind and spirit of young Joshua Keegan, who along with his little sister, become modern Sherlocks.
In reading Menace, not only have we a page-turning mystery in hand—for students and adults—but also a source of education. The menace, as in the case of so many adverse events in life, can happen to you or your loved ones. Read Menace In The Walls and be entertained, informed, and learn of some solutions to the threatening danger. What more could one ask for in a book? Barbara Wilkie, President, Environmental Health Network


'Menace in the Walls' by Dr. N.L.Eskeland is a short novel dealing with the adventures of a 13-year old boy Joshua Keegan and his young sister Kelley. Based on a real-life incident but not sacrificing the thrills of a mystery novel, the book manages the double duty of entertaining and educating the young reader in Science and Scientific Investigation.

The story is about how a poisonous mold 'Stacybotrys' affects the health of small infants and also that of Joshua's favorite horse, resulting in deaths. In the process of unraveling the mystery of the deaths, the concepts of spores, microbes, culture, microscope, staining, lung infection, emergency room procedures, sterilization etc., have been nicely interwoven into the story. The sibling rivalry between brother and sister and how they join forces against a common adversary has been nicely brought out.

Some of the children who read this book will get interested in exploring these topics further. One way for parents could be to encourage the children to read further and also to interact with their school teachers.

The book is not meant to be an introduction to science. The primary aim is to entertain. The style is good and will attract and hold the attention of the
young readers and even the parents. And if some of them develop a desire for further investigation, it will benefit science. 

In conclusion, the reviewer compliments the author and the publisher for a good effort. Reviewed by: Swamy Swarna-



In this absorbing mystery, targeted to youngsters, 13-year-old Joshua gets a summer job at a lab in the hospital where his mother is a physician. Soon his horse dies of a a strange mold disease and Joshua notices babies with similar symptoms are being treated at the hospital.  With younger sister Kelley getting in the way, and a
researcher warning him off, Joshua sets out to solve the mystery.
What's wrong with the babies and why are some dying?

Inspired by a real Stacybotrys mold episode, Menace in the Walls is an engrossing, well-crafted and informative little novel, even for
adults.  I hope to see more of brave young Joshua and author N. L. Eskeland's writing. Reviewed by: J R Lankford,
Author & Electrical Engineer


"N.L. Eskeland masterfully weaves the high tension energy of a mystery into the marvelous world of molds and molecules. This engaging tale creates a thirst for further scientific study in all who read it!" Lynn Westphal, 5th Grade Teacher at SFC in Solana Beach, CA.


Book opens with a raging flood, 13- year- old Joshua Keegan has
accompanied his mother a pediatric pulmonary specialist to the ER.  While tending the flood victims Joshua's mother is troubled to realize she is seeing another infant presenting the symptoms of nosebleed, coughing, congestion and lung damage that she had seen not long ago.  During his stint at the hospital Joshua decides he would like to spend the summer working at the hospital, maybe in the lab.  Joshua meets Dr. Tang, is fascinated to learn that much of the research being conducted centers around bacteria and molds and sets to work to learn everything he can.  Before long Joshua makes a surprising discovery, and his favorite horse dies. Joshua sets out to discover
how the babies have died and how the death of his beloved horse might figure in the mix.  Missing data, missing cultures, the medical examiner is called in and a peculiar man seems to be following Joshua. This fiction based in a true incident that took place in Cleveland OH during the mid 1990s resulted in the deaths of several young children is a tribute to the efforts of the writer.  From the opening line when medics plead "Let Us Through" down to the last paragraph when Joshua's efforts are at last understood, the book is a gripping read.  Writer Eskeland has taken a true life event, placed it in a mystery and peopled it with enough characters to keep the reader turning page after page to come to a satisfying conclusion. Eskeland has crafted a well wrought tale in which emergency room
procedures, lung infection, microscope slides, staining, cultures, microbes, a deadly mold 'Stacybotrys' and the concept of spores have been interwoven into the narrative.  Joshua Keegan and his sister Kelley are typical kids who bicker among themselves, but come together when need be. This is a book sure to tickle the fancy of both boys and girls in the classroom. A must have for the middle grade student. Happy to recommend. Reviewed by: Molly Martin, 20+ years classroom teacher .


Menace in the Walls in the first Joshua Keegan solves the mystery story and it could be the first of many. This new teenage mystery solver has a lot going for him and a lot of help from his little sister.  Their teaming up together to solve mysteries will be a big hit with the early teenagers. Author Eskeland did a great job showing the “brother-sister” relationship that all teenagers experience, but she also showed how they can pull together and solve a crime. Menace in the Walls is based on a true story about a mysterious mold that hit the Cleveland area in the 1990’s. The author is able to include science along with medical information in her stories that is also educational to the reader. This book gets 4 hearts. Jane Deskis,


       Memo to guys: Smart is cool. Also, be nice to your sister. Those are two important lessons, refreshingly not delivered with a cafeteria lady’s heavy hand, in N.L. Eskeland’s “Erin Brockovich meets Michael Crichton” thriller for the preteen set, Menace in the Walls, a fictional account of a true and controversial medical horror story from the 1990s.

      While we’re all panicking about the flu, mad cow disease, and so forth, we’d do well to learn from history, especially when it is well and wisely written with a deft touch that proves children’s books aren’t just for kids anymore. Not only that, our future generations are brighter, less video-game-addicted, and more inclined to listen to their parents than the latest pop star (parents really are the anti-drug!). In addition, today’s kids have a powerful sense of right and wrong.

      The “wrong” portrayed in Menace in the Walls is corporate greed and research funding versus the lives of innocent children. Moreover, we would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids!

      The meddling kids in question are the Harry Potter-looking bespectacled Joshua Keegan and his firecracker younger sister Kelley. To Joshua, Kelly is particularly meddlesome. However, investigating children’s deaths from lung hemorrhage linked to the mysterious mold Stachybotrys has a way of bringing siblings together, especially when Joshua and Kelley find their lives in danger.

      After Joshua’s strong, intelligent doctor mother gets him a job at a lab run by her sinister colleague Doctor Channing, Joshua, in the tradition of nosy kids, starts poking in the computer files and braves secondhand smoke to visit one of the bereaved relatives of several children taken mysteriously ill with the same ailment (the revelation that smoking can aggravate the children’s condition is a gentle, subtle message). When Kelley accidentally puts Joshua at risk through sibling rivalry, the two must team up to unravel the case. It is not a “kids versus adults” story either: Joshua’s parents, as well as a kindly researcher named Dr. Tang, prove to be great allies and protectors. In this moral, faith-filled, intelligent page-turner, Eskeland makes science cool again. Kristin Johnson-


Reviewer:   burgs66 "burgs66" (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
A perfect book for children should contain these elements, in no particular order: intrigue, camaraderie in the face of the darkest dangers, sound morals, and it should be educational. Menace in the Walls has all of the above.

Joshua Keegan is very eager to work in a hospital, and he jumps at the offer to work in Dr. Channing's lab for the summer. Prior to starting his job in the lab, he helped his mother one night during a terrible storm and was surprised to see that several children were being brought to the emergency room with the same symptoms: nosebleeds, coughing, congestion, and X-Rays that reveal damaged lungs. As Joshua begins his job in the lab, part of his duties involve entering patient information into the computer. As he's doing so, he notices that eight children, all under the age of four months, and all from the same area that experienced the flooding during the storm, have large X's over their data. Finding this odd, he prints out the information.

Later he learns that his favorite horse died - from mold that it ate in its hay. Doing some quick research on the internet, he discovers a disturbing link between the infants that were brought in during the storm and his horse's death. Thus begins the intrigue, and the mystery that Joshua sets out to solve. And it is an exciting, page-turning story that I found most enjoyable.

Along the way he finds unexpected help from a school jock and, perhaps even more surprising, his younger sister, whom he thought of as a nuisance in the beginning of the book. Working together, they work better than working alone.

Joshua's character in particular was very impressively fleshed out for such a relatively short book. With the exception of one "villain", in fact, there really weren't any typical caricatures that you expect to see in children's books. These were all very real characters.

But I think my favorite part of the book was learning about micropipette tips and autoclaving. Reading without learning, regardless of how exciting the story (and this is an exciting story) is like eating mashed potatoes without salt and butter, or gravy, or whatever you like to put on them. It's just not the same.

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