Monday, May 22, 2017

Challenge Complete: Women Challenge

Sponsored by PeekaBook

 

Levels:
Level 1: BABY GIRL - read 5 books written by a woman author
Level 2: GIRLS POWER - read 6 to 15 books written by a woman author
Level 3: SUPER GIRL - read 16 to 20 books written by a woman author
Level 4: WONDER WOMAN - read 20+ books written by a woman author


Once again I have read at least 20 books by women in 2017, and have completed the Wonder Woman level. Here are the books read. Thanks to Valentina for hosting this one again!

1. When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin (1/24/17)
2. All for the Love of a Lady by Leslie Ford (2/9/17)
3. Spice Island Mystery by Betty Cavanna (2/10/17)
4. Deception Island by M. K. Lorens (2/13/17)
5. The Thursday Turkey Murders by [Georgiana] Craig Rice (2/13/17)
6. Episode of the Wandering Knife by Mary Roberts Rinehart (2/26/17)
7. Zadok's Treasure by Margot Arnold (2/27/17)
8. Death in the Wrong Room by Anthony Gilbert [Lucy Beatrice Malleson] (3/2/17)
9. Murder at Government House by Elspeth Huxley (3/13/17)
10. Trixie Belden & the Gatehouse Mystery by Julie Campbell (3/16/17)
11. I Could Murder Her by E. C. R. Lorac (4/7/17)
12. Stroke of Death by Josephine Bell (4/12/17)
13. Coffin's Dark Number by Gwendoline Butler (4/16/17)
14. Grounds for Murder by Kate Kingsbury (4/26/17)
15. The Fennister Affair by Josephine Bell (4/28/17)
16. The Vanishing Violinist by Sara Hoskinson Frommer (4/30/17)
17. The Polka Dot Nude by Joan Smith (5/2/17)
18. The Invisible Intruder by Carolyn Keene (5/4/17)
19. The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt (5/6/17)
20. Murder at Teatime by Stefanie Matteson (5/9/17)
21. Deadly Nightshade by Elizabeth Daly (5/19/17)
 
 

Deadly Nightshade: Review

Deadly Nightshade (1940) by Elizabeth Daly is the second in her Henry Gamadge series. Gamadge is a bibliophile and consultant on old books, autographs, and inks. He lives on the East Side of New York, but is willing to roam afield to investigate a suspicious signature....or an untimely death. This second adventure finds him returning to Maine (site of his first recorded case) at the behest of Detective Mitchell. Three children have been poisoned with nightshade berries with two recoveries and one fatality--and one more little girl is missing. The locals want to blame it on the gypsies camping in the woods.They're willing to accept that the berries may have been given out by mistake, but they want a scapegoat and are hankering to run the gypsies out of town.

Mitchell isn't sold on the idea, but he also can't find any other explanation. So, he calls upon Gamadge who has proven able in the past to see solutions that others miss. He soon discovers that a mysterious woman visited the homes of the children before they took ill. Was she a gypsy in disguise? Was she a harmless representative of a magazine as she claimed? Or did her disguise hide someone more closely associated with one or more of the families? A state trooper also died during that time period in what was determined to be an accident. But Gamadge wonders if that death is part of the same puzzle. Mitchell takes him around to meet the various families involved and slowly the bibliophile begins to see the pattern behind the poisonings. 

This is a rather intricate story that was, at times, a little hard to follow. I ascribe part of that to the fact this particular edition is abridged--not my preference for reading (especially mysteries), but thus far this is the only edition I've been able to find in my used bookstore/booksale ramblings. Fortunately, Gamadge is as engaging as ever and the supporting characters are interesting as well. The plot is a bit convoluted, but with a hint of belief suspension it does make sense in the end. I'd be interested to know if I'd figure it out when reading the unabridged version. Good solid fare and an enjoyable read. ★★

[Finished on 5/19/17]
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This fulfills the "Mask" category on the Golden Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.

Deal Me In Week #20: "The Dragon of Pripyat"


I'm still working my way through Jay's Deal Me In Challenge . In a nutshell--we line up 52 short stories for the year, we match those stories up to a card in a regular deck of card, and each week we shuffle our deck (of real cards) and draw a card from whatever remains in the deck. Last week I drew the Five of Spades which corresponds to "The Dragon of Pripyat" by Karl Schroeder (from The Year's Best Science Fiction 17th Annual Collection by Gardner Dozois, ed.).

photo credit

"The Dragon of Pripyat" takes place long after the Chernobyl disaster. The site is still "hot" radioactively and there is always a danger that another disaster could be triggered. Gennady Malianov is a freelance nuclear inspector who is hired by the Chernobyl Trust to investigate the site. Someone is extorting money from the Trust by threatening to trigger just such a disaster unless they are paid. Malianov finds more than he bargained for when a old man living in the danger zone tells him of a dragon living near the reactor's remains.

 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Petty Theft: Mini Review

Petty Theft (2014) by Pascal Girard 

Awkward. If I had to sum this book up in one word, that's what I'd go with. Pascal (the character) is awkward. The whole set-up winds up being awkward. And the simple line-drawing panels are awkwardly far afield from the usual graphic novel fare offered up these days. The tag line on Goodreads "A hilarious romantic comedy about kleptomania and booklovers" caught my attention and the plot--Pascal notices a young woman in a bookshop stealing his book, so he decides to play amateur detective and figure out who she is and see if he can catch her in the act...falling for her in the process--sounded original and intriguing. But the story just isn't. Intriguing, that is. It isn't hilarious either. Pascal is so awkward it's painful, but he is also not at all compelling, so one doesn't really sympathize with him.

And you can't tell me that Pascal went with his bad back and worked in construction for more than one day without re-injuring and worsening his condition. Yeah--it happens, but it should have happened immediately.

I still think the plot was a good concept. I wish it had been rendered more effectively. ★★

[Finished on 5/16/17]

The Golden Bird: Review

The Golden Bird: Folk Tales from Slovenia (1969) by Vladimir Kavčič contains eighteen folktales from the heart of Slovenia/Yugoslavia. Those who are familiar with folk tales and fairy tales will recognize common themes that bear great resemblance to such stories as Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White & Rose Red (the original and now Disney's version of Snow White), Bluebeard, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Brave Little Tailor. There is also a short version of the Tom Thumb story. It is interesting to see that various themes appear across a broad spectrum of cultures--whether because certain experiences are common to all people or because the original oral stories were spread by traveling story tellers who left their stories with different cultures. 

As with all story collections, the folk tales vary in strength. The weakest is a story about a boy who misinterprets his mother's instructions all the time. It is just a series of examples of such behavior, but there doesn't seem to be any moral or conclusion--such as the stories where the youngest, weakest, least regarded brother/sister winds up winning out and marrying the princess/prince. The examples just end with nothing really happening. Overall, an interesting and engaging collection. ★★

[Finished on 5/16/17]

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Murder in Mount Holly: Review

It's the late 1960s. Lyndon Johnson is President and United States is deep in Vietnam. Herbie Gneiss is happily attending college when his widowed mother guilts him into leaving college to get a job and sending her enough money to keep her from starving...with enough extra to pop chocolate bonbons in her ever-hungry mouth all day long while watching television. He gets a job at the Kant-Brake toy factory which churns out military-style toys. He moves into Miss Ball's rooming house (to be close to work) and meets fellow-roomer Mr. Gibbon who also works at the factory.

Herbie has just settled into his new life when Uncle Sam decides another soldier is needed in 'Nam and drafts him. Exit Herbie off the stage and (spoiler alert) soon out of the story all together. During his brief sojourn at the rooming house, he introduces Mr. Gibbon to his mother and they fall in love. Pretty soon, Mrs. Gneiss gives up her house and moves into Herbie's old rooms at Miss Ball's. Led by the ultra-patriotic Mr. Gibbon (veteran of three wars!), the three decide they need to do something on the home-front while Herbie is off fighting for his country. What better thing to do than to show the You-Know-Whos (all the commie brown people taking over America) that "real Americans" means business? And what better way to show the You-Know-Whos than to rob a bank managed by a small dark man who is undoubtedly a communist? Probably. Maybe. 

The three elderly robbers-to-be set work casing the joint and making plans for a spectacular robbery that will put them on the front page as patriotic Americans saving their money (and the rest of the town's while they're at it) from the evil Reds who are stealing everybody blind. As is often the case, the best laid plans often go astray--but what's a murder or two, kidnapped policemen, and a stolen cop car among friends?

Paul Theroux's Murder in Mount Holly (1969) is the second non-traditional crime novel I've read from my birth year. It's starting to look like a trend. It could, just, be slotted into the inverted mystery category. There are definitely no surprises here--except for guessing how many corpses there will be littered about before the over-the-hill gang get done with their crime spree. But I don't think Theroux's real goal was a crime novel. It strikes me more as satirical commentary on the times in which he lived. He plays on the idea of patriotism--most obviously with the character of Mr. Gibbons, but also with Mrs. Gneiss's false pride in sending her son off to the battlefield. I definitely get the feeling that dear old mom is thinking more about her next bonbon than she is about Herbie off in Vietnam. And if her lover-boy, Gibbons, weren't so hipped on his particular brand of patriotism I doubt she'd give it another thought at all. He uses the casual violence to underscore the violence of the current war. Theroux also examine the fear of the other (all those brown people taking over everything) that strikes a chord with today's reader with the background noise of Donald Trump and his supporters chanting "Build the wall!"  

A thought-provoking novel that, like Blind Man With a Pistol, gives the reader another snapshot of America in the late 1960s. ★★

[Finished on 5/15/17]
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This fulfills the "Blue Object" category on the Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.

The Mystery of the Talking Skull: Review

The Three Investigators #11
The Mystery of the Talking Skull (1969)
by Robert Arthur

Jupiter Jones, chief investigator of The Three Investigators detective agency, decides that he wants to attend an auction and brings fellow investigators, Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews, along. It's all part of the gathering of experiences so they can be  well-informed detectives. While at the auction, Jupiter becomes interested in an old trunk that belonged to the Great Gulliver. The Great Gulliver was a mediocre magician who had one great trick--a talking skull who could predict the future. He is the only bidder and becomes the proud owner for only $1. 

He's barely taken possession of the trunk before people start clamoring to buy it from him. There's the elderly lady who reached the auction just moments too late to bid and offers $25 for it, and Maximilian the Magnificent who flaunts $100 and claims to want the trunk of his good friend Gulliver "for old times sake." There's also the mysterious men who keep hanging around The Jones Salvage Yard, owned by Jupiter's aunt & uncle, and who try to steal the trunk. Obviously, the trunk holds a valuable secret--but is it more than just a talking skull magic trick? Once Socrates, the skull, begins talking to him, Jupiter and The Three Investigators just might find out!

I've got a lot of nostalgia for this series. I first discovered them when I went with my then best friend and her family on a shopping trip to the big malls in Ft. Wayne. I was the one insisting on stopping at all the bookstores and had never heard of "Alfred Hitchcock & the Three Investigators," but I couldn't resist a new mystery series and grabbed up two or three of the novels. This is one of the titles that I missed reading back in the day. I have to say that I miss the Alfred Hitchcock connection--I mean, I know that Hitchcock just lent his name to the series and Random House decided to change the host when he died, but it was fun having him as the mentor for the boys. This newer edition has some guy named Hector Sebastian (apparently, after a little Google research, a fictional mystery writer)--not nearly as interesting to me.

It was still fun to revisit a childhood favorite and I enjoyed following along with the boys as they tracked down clues, entered their Headquarters through the secret tunnels in the junkyard, and ultimately discovered the secret hidden in the trunk and in Socrates's mysterious messages. Good solid adventure for young readers with a mystery that they can solve even before Jupiter does (I did!). ★★


[Finished on 5/13/17]
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Fulfills the "Map/Chart" category on the Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.


Deal Me In Week #19: "Pink Bait"


I'm still working my way through Jay's Deal Me In Challenge . In a nutshell--we line up 52 short stories for the year, we match those stories up to a card in a regular deck of card, and each week we shuffle our deck (of real cards) and draw a card from whatever remains in the deck. Last week I drew the Two of Clubs which corresponds to "Pink Bait" by Octavus Roy Cohen (from The World's Best One Hundred Detective Stories Vol. 7 edited by Eugene Thwing. And, though I got it read last week, I'm just now logging it.

 
Emanuel José’s hand-carved giant playing cards

"Pink Bait" finds master criminal Thomas Matlock Braden in my home state of Indiana. Braden isn't just your average Moriarty-type of master criminal--directing vast nefarious organizations. He works alone, but handles "only tasks which require extraordinary finesse, infinite patience and an all-embracing knowledge of human nature." When he comes into possession of a purloined necklace of perfectly matched pink pearls, he travels to a resort in Indiana to look for the perfect "mark" upon which to work his magic. Because if anyone can sell an unsaleable stolen necklace, it's Thomas Matlock Braden.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Death Cracks a Bottle: Review

Death Cracks a Bottle (1969) by Kenneth Giles is the sixth novel in his Harry James (Sergeant and then Inspector) series. At this point, James is an Inspector with his own Sergeant Honeybody. This investigation takes James and Honeybody to the Heavan family's wine and spirit business where the chairman of the board, Christobal Botting, has been murdered with a cosh on the head with a three-liter bottle of vermouth. There are plenty of intrigues and antics at Heavans--from blackmail to fiddlin' the books to hatred among the remaining directors to a crazy Heavan family member who's just been "cured" and let out of the loony bin--it's enough to drive anyone to drink. The Heavan family don't care who their front man is as long as he keeps The Family first and makes sure that the profits keep rolling in. It doesn't matter if the books are fiddled (everybody does it) or the wine is a bit watered down. But they do care about the blackmail that Botting has been doing and somebody in the Heavan business has apparently had enough. Was it one of the Heaven heiressess who hold the purse strings or their husbands who sit as directors? Maybe it was Mr. Stiggins, the financial wizard who can cook a book so tasty that no one questions his figures and who looks to be the next in line for the Chairmanship now that Botting's out of the way. Or maybe it was one of the bottlers who was caught tippling a bit too much on the side.

 A Scotland Yard team's life is a hard one--working their way through wine tastings and offers of drinks from the Heavan family right and left as they review witness statements and hunt for clues. Honeybody especially appreciates the free refreshments and James doesn't mind letting the suspects think the wine has gone to head a bit. He sets the final trap nicely when he appears to become overly-confiding while in his cups...but he gets a bit of a surprise when the villain who walks into his trap is unexpected and more prepared for trouble than he is.

Which...speaking of that ending. I'm a little troubled by a senior officer getting himself into the situation which James does and being so pig-headed about not letting anyone else know where he was and what he was doing. Sure, it creates tension at the end, but hopefully real policemen don't do that sort of thing.

Overall, an entertaining mystery and much more a traditional police procedural than the last one I read (Death & Mr. Prettyman). There is still a bit of a feeling that James and Honeybody's conversations have a whole subtext that only they understand, but it's not quite the "Who's on first" vibe that I got before. Again, not quite a fair play mystery--but then the late 60s/early 70s weren't exactly the period for that type of Golden Age style. I will definitely keep my eye out for more this series. ★★

Finished on 5/13/17
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Fulfills the "Bottle" category on the Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt card. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Blind Man with a Pistol: Review

Blind Man with a Pistol (1969) is the first Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson novel I've read and the last in the series published before Chester Himes's death in 1984. It tells the story of one night and a day in Harlem. A period in which Detectives Jones and Johnson are tasked with finding the person responsible for a spate of organized race riots while weaving their way through murders, Black Muslims, Black Power movements, organized crime, and terrible violence everywhere. 

They get sidetracked from their primary assignment (the race riots) when a pantsless white man with his throat cut falls dead at their feet.  A trail of blood leads back to a cramped apartment building where apartments full of people neither saw nor heard anything. Another murder (of a key witness) follows and the police seem powerless to stop the murderer or the riots. The story ends with a regular shoot-em-up featuring the titular Blind Man and his pistol. 

I have to admit that I really didn't follow what was going on throughout most of this. Plot does not seem to be a major point of interest for Himes. I think I know who was behind the riots, but I wouldn't bet anything too valuable on that and I haven't the faintest idea about who killed the pantsless man and the witness. Jones and Johnson (and the white policemen on the force) haven't solved that crime by the end of the book and I doubt that they were going to. There is a lot of gratuitous violence and if you have any qualms about language (both racial and vulgar), then I'd suggest you steer clear. Definitely not a mystery story in the traditional sense.

I recognize that Himes was using the crime novel as a vehicle to make statements about violence and conditions in Harlem as well as to highlight the racial tensions of the time period. This is valuable for those interested in the late 60s/early 70s in New York. And, perhaps, the chaotic nature of the book--which jumped around from scene to scene and from viewpoint to viewpoint--was meant to reflect the chaotic atmosphere of the time and place--but it makes things difficult on the reader. Interesting as a snapshot of the time period, but not a typical mystery novel and it was difficult for me to enjoy it from that standpoint. The ending is well-done. Himes does seem to have a gift for describing the crowd mentality and giving the full flavor of the people's reactions without over-doing it. ★★

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This fulfills the "Revolver" category on the Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.

Challenge Complete: Charity Reading Challenge

Charity Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: January-December 2017
# of books: You decide

This was my second year participating in Becky's challenge. Like last year, I signed up with a goal of 12 books and I've now reached that--so my commitment has been met.

It was interesting to to track my charity giving based on books during 2016. I get a great number of my used books from our Friends of the Library [FoL] used book shop and their twice yearly sales as well as the Hoosier Hills [Food Bank] Community Book Fair. So, I read books that I've gotten from there over the years. I am still recording each time I indulge my book habit at FoL book shop and at the fall book fair in 2017. Last year I spent a total of $268.15 at charity book sales and at FoL shop. We'll see how much I give away in 2017. I will report a final total at year's end.

1. Death of a Racehorse by John Creasey [bought at the Hoosier Hills Book Fair October 2016] (1/7/17)
2. Murder at the Masque by Amy Myers [FoL Bookstore, 7/12/14] (1/16/17)
3. The Black Count by Tom Reiss [FoL Bookstore, 4/18/15] (1/21/17)
4. I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison [Hoosier Hills Book Fair October 2015] (1/24/17)
5. Deception Island by M. K. Loren [FoL Bookstore 7/12/14] (2/13/17)
6. Zadok's Treasure by Margot Arnold [FoL Bookstore 5/29/14] (2/22/17)
7. Silence Observed by Michael Innes [Hoosier Hills Book Fair October 2016] (3/28/17)
8. The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm by James Napoli [FoL Bookstore 1/2/16] (4/14/17)
9. Death with Blue Ribbon by Leo Bruce [Red Cross Book Fair October 2013] (4/20/17)
10. Who Is the Next? by Henry Kitchell Webster [FoL Book Sale] (4/24/17)
11. The Fennister Affair by Josephine Bell [Hoosier Hills Book Fair October 2016] (4/28/17)
12. Storm Center by Douglas Clark [Hoosier Hills Book Fair October 2016] (5/1/17)

Complete!


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Murder at Teatime: Review

Murder at Teatime (1991) by Stefanie Matteson is a cozy mystery series starring Charlotte Graham, Oscar-award winning actress and belle of Broadway with a nose for clues. After more than forty years on stage and screen, Charlotte finds herself without a play and without a hint of a script. So, she decides to take a vacation at the Maine island home of her dear friends Stan and Kitty Saunders. Gilley Island is beautiful and restful...at least that's what she's been promised. But Charlotte feels like she's walked in to the middle of a melodrama.

The residents are all up in arms over a proposed development project that will bring an exclusive resort to the coastal island. Most are in favor of the project--with the promise of jobs to replace those that have been lost when factories and other industries have moved out of the area. But Dr. Franklin Thornhill, who owns a large parcel of land smack dab in the middle of the area the resort folk want to buy, is one of those steadfastly against the idea and refuses to sell. A harassment campaign has been in force--from letting the air out of Thornhill's tires to crude, child-like drawings with threatening notes--and then, on the day Charlotte arrives, Thornhill's dog is poisoned.

Thornhill's death from a poisoned cup of tea follows after his niece, a white witch who lives with him a Ledge House, holds a Midsummer's Night (Summer Solstice) celebration with plenty of odd...and sometimes poisonous...herbs and concoctions. Did someone mistake monkshood for a bit of tea leaves or was the doctor deliberately done away with? His rivals in the land project aren't the only suspects for hustling the doctor off this mortal coil. His daughter and son-in-law stand to inherit, his niece may have wanted to stop an impending marriage that would have left her homeless, and a book seller may have needed the commission from an estate sale sooner than a natural death would have allowed. Howard Tracey, the local chief of police who has never dealt with a murder before, has heard of Graham's penchant for solving mysteries and asks her help him with his investigation. She'll have to sift the good herbs from the bad to find the right potion to reveal a callous murderer.

A fairly solid cozy mystery. Several motives to work through and a decent attempt at fair play. The characters are mildly interesting but could have been given a bit more depth to spice things up a bit. Enjoyable enough for a quick read, but not necessarily a series that I will deliberately seek out. ★★

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Fulfills "Holiday" category for the Cruisin' Thru the Cozies Challenge. The murder takes place after a Midsummer's Night (Summer Solstice) celebration and the villain is caught by the light of the fireworks on Independence Day.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Shivering Sands: Review

I got my first taste of mystery/romantic suspense when my grandma sent me Hunter's Green by Phyllis A. Whitney in a box full of books (what treasure trove also included favorites such as The Mystery of Hunting's End and Laddie: A True Blue Story). I'm not sure that Grandma intended to launch me on a reading journey that would take me through most of Whitney's books and lead me to her contemporary, Victoria Holt as well as other Gothic mystery/romance novels. Once started on a genre, I would often devour what books our local Carnegie Library had on the shelf....including The Shivering Sands (1969) by Victoria Holt. Years later I picked up a copy of my own and now the Birth Year Challenge gives me a chance to read my own copy.

The Shivering Sands finds Caroline Verlaine, young widow of the musical genius Pietro Verlaine, looking for a means of support. Pietro may have been magical with the piano, but he was no financial wizard and Caroline's small income needs a bit of bolstering. She was once a promising young pianist as well, but gave up her ambition in her love for Pietro. Now she teaches piano. Her sister Roma, an archaeologist following in their parents' footsteps, disappeared while on a dig for Roman remains on the Stacy estate along the coast of Kent. When the opportunity opens up for Caroline to teach piano to four girls connected with the estate, she grabs it--both for the needed income and for the chance to investigate her sister's disappearance. 

Of course, Roma's disappearance isn't the only mystery surrounding the Stacy home. Years ago, Napier Stacy killed his handsome and popular brother Beaumont in what has been called an "accident." But there are those who think Napier was too envious of the near-perfect Beau and may have wanted him out of the way. His father did want Napier out of the way--to the extent of sending him away because he didn't want to be reminded of the tragedy. That is...until Sir William wants Napier to come home, marry his ward Edith, and produce an heir. Then lights are seen flitting about in the memorial built for Beau and there are those who say that Beau has come back to haunt the brother who murdered him. There's also Sir William's sister Sybil who pops in and out unexpectedly and says the most unnerving things to Caroline and others. Sybil also seems to be far more informed about Caroline's movements than anyone ought to be. 

Suspense builds as Edith also disappears--shortly after announcing that the long-awaited heir is on its way--and Caroline is nearly killed in a fire. She doesn't know who to trust--the girls she has been teaching all seem to be keeping secrets and, though Caroline finds herself intrigued by and attracted to Napier, he is after all the black sheep of the family. What if he really is destroying his family one by one? And what if Roma stumbled onto a secret that made her death a necessity as well? It looks like Caroline might be next if she continues to ask too many questions.

It is interesting that this appears to be a historical novel, set at a guess during the late Victorian period when travel is by train and horse and trap and the girls talk of wearing their hair up when they reach a certain age. There is also a lot made of Caroline and Roma's education--being more like that of boys than is normal for their sex. But there are no overt references to time period and it doesn't seem that Holt spent a great deal of time researching the period. Much more is made of the setting and descriptions of the estate than of the time in which this all takes place.

It is easy to see why this appealed to my pre-teen self. Lots of atmosphere and Gothic elements to investigate with hints of romance that are quite as heavily infused as some mystery/romantic suspense novels. Caroline isn't quite the investigator that she imagines herself--stumbling on things rather more than deducing (and playing the Gothic suspense heroine who keeps going about alone and getting herself into trouble way more than necessary). Still, a great deal of fun and the culprit proves to be unexpected. ★★

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This fulfills the "Spooky House/Mansion" category on the Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.