Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Tale of Briar Bank-Susan Wittig Albert

The Tale of Briar Bank
Susan Wittig Albert
Berkley, Oct 2008, $23.95
ISBN 9780425223611

Her reception from her disapproving parents is so icy; Beatrix Potter decides to cut off her visit and leave London immediately. She returns to her home Hill Top Farm in the Lake District. Ironically she gets trapped in a blizzard that reminds her of the frozen welcome of her family.

Beatrix learns that neighbor Hugh Wickstead was killed in an accident when a tree limb fell on him. Some locals believe he died due to the curse of an ancient treasure trove he found. Beatrix knows humans are inane allowing their imagination to come up with ridiculous stories. She turns to the more honest animals to help her investigate how Hugh died.

The latest Potter Cottage Tale (see THE TALE OF CUCKOO BROW WOOD and THE TALE OF HAWTHORN HOUSE) is an engaging historical mystery that uses personification to combine fact and fantasy into a fine mystery. The fun in the TALE OF BRIAR BANK lies with that convergence as Beatrix talks to the late Hugh’s fox terrier Pickles; co-star as a store owner in THE TALE OF GINGER AND PICKLES. This is a fun entry in a delightfully charming series.

Harriet Klausner