I got this because Becca recommended it, and I needed something non-taxing after Murakami (who is awesome, but sometimes requires additional contemplation).
So, this was a book about an 11-year old girl who lives in a British manor house in 1950, who has a chemistry lab in an upper room of the manor house, and whose father is besotted by philately. Someone turns up dead in the cucumber patch and the girl decides to investigate.
In some ways, it reminds me of Hotel Paradise
, which was also about a spunky, creative, curious young girl, albeit 12-years old, who wanders hither and yon investigating things. What's more interesting to me is that when I read Hotel Paradise
a number of years ago, I was reminded of my awesome niece, who was about 12 at the time. So now a dozen or so years later, the awesome niece recommends I read a book about a spunky, creative, curious 11-year old. And so I have.
It's a rather fun read. Perhaps the girl is a bit too clever and has more advanced critical thinking skills than one would expect from an 11-year old, but not so much so that it spoils the story. All the little details about chemistry are quite fun, the girl's father's obsession with minute details of philately seems extraordinarily weird, but I know there are people like that. So all in all, the story is plausible, and is well told.
One interesting side light is that they have a discussion of Penrod
, who was an 11-year old boy in early 20th century American literature. I'm not sure how a 1950s British youth would know about Penrod (unless, of course, like me, their father told them all about it), but it shows this book's good taste, I think.