Why did you choose this book?
I honestly don’t remember where I first heard of this one, but I was intrigued by the plot. I love mysteries where all of the characters are confined to a grand manor house. Or mysteries set during the Victorian/Edwardian time period.
What’s it about?
In 1906 or 1907 (I can’t remember), six children receive a letter inviting them to the home of a reclusive philanthropist. The group includes churlish Barnaby, clever Oliver, book-smart Edward, sweet Viola, haughty Frances, and curious Tabitha. Tabitha is the main character. She loves Inspector Pensive mysteries (similar to Sherlock Holmes) and constantly looks for clues with her pet mouse, Pemberley. Tabitha’s parents have always treated her horribly, and while they try to make the trip profitable, Tabitha is happy to be exploring the grand manor without them.
Mystery, historical, juvenile fiction
Other recommended reads?
This is in 2 parts. First, many reviewers compared this book to Roald Dahl. I have never enjoyed his books and thus can neither agree nor disagree. I found some aspects of it (such as Tabitha’s cruel treatment at the hands of her parents) to be similar to Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I loathed that series when I was younger as well.
Personally, I would compare the overall feeling of this book to one of my all-time favorites, The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. If you haven’t read it, go put it on hold now – it’s soooo good!
I really, really enjoyed this book, and I didn’t solve the mystery until Tabitha did. I enjoyed the eccentricity of the characters as well, but I did feel that some parts of the book were too dark and mature for the book’s target age group. I’d recommend this for upper elementary and middle school students.
Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers