Another Gone Girl

Barbara_Newhall_Follet,jpg

This weekend I happened upon Paul Collins’ essay “Vanishing Act,” about the writing prodigy Barbara Newhall Follett, whose The House Without Windows was published by Knopf in 1927 when the author was twelve.  Our own Bertha Mahony loved the book, devoting three pages to it in the February 1927 Magazine. While Follett would go on to publish […]

Finding the work-home balance

Navigating Early

Simultaneously trying to read, for work, Clare Vanderpool’s forthcoming Navigating Early (about two troubled boys in boarding school), and trying to read, for fun, Denise Mina’s latest The End of the Wasp Season (about two troubled boys in boarding school) has me positively confuzzilated. So far, Mina’s boys are in much bigger trouble, but they […]

Middle-grade mysteries

Caroline Lawrence Case of the Deadly Desperados cover

The following novels show that puzzles can be solved by detectives both seasoned and green. These four sleuth stories — action-packed, suspenseful, and sometimes goofy — will lure in mystery-lovers. Caroline Lawrence’s The Case of the Deadly Desperados is a bang-up series starter told in flashback by young P.K. Pinkerton. P.K.’s story opens when a […]

Review of The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star

Upon arriving in London from Louisiana for the school year, high-school senior Rory is told that someone “pulled a Jack the Ripper” the night before. She assumes the phrase is some quaint British colloquialism she has yet to learn, not an actual reference to a gruesome murder committed on the same date—August 31—and in the same location.

>Mata Haris

>Valerie Plame’s announcement that she is embarking on a series starring a female spy reminded me of one of my favorites, Evelyn Anthony’s books from the 1980s about Davina Graham, starting with The Defector. Subsequent titles include The Avenue of the Dead, Albatross, and The Company of Saints, and while they were reissued with new […]

>New Magazine, etc.

>Happy New Year, everybody. Like just about every reader who goes away on vacation, I brought to the Cape last week stacks of books in print, audio, and pixels but mostly disdained them in favor of a book I picked up at the house we were renting. It was a grisly Icelandic mystery–do the Scandinavians […]

>Two questions about mystery writing

>I’m reading (listening to) Lisa Scottoline’s latest Bennie Rosato mystery, Think Twice. It’s too preposterous for its own good (Bennie’s evil identical twin Alice buries alive and then impersonates our heroine), but like many a mediocre book it makes me think about how good books get written. My first question is about suspense, and I’m […]

>We skipped the maple candy, too

> Back from Vermont–we did get to visit the Patersons (that Katherine bakes a mean scone and gave us plenty to take back to our Killington chalet, no snow but there was a hot tub) but not JRL as poor Buster was by then too exhausted and disoriented to either move or leave behind. (He […]

>A belated secret message

>To the person who mailed us an anonymous submission in response to my query for suggestions for changes to the Horn Book Magazine: while we could, if warranted, publish an article by an Anonymous, we would need to verify who you are before doing so. But I do thank you for the very helpful thoughts. […]

>Happy New Year

> With our best girls Charlene and Lori at Lorraine’s in Provincetown last night. Ptown was hit by a blizzard yesterday so it was something of a haul getting to the restaurant but the streets sure looked pretty with the Christmas lights twinkling against the snow. I’ve discovered a problem with bringing lots of books […]