Sunday, January 01, 2006

Mysteries the way they should be written....

I love British mysteries -- there is just about nothing better than a drizzly, cold day, a roaring fire, a thick, hand-knit afghan and a great British cozy. A cozy mystery is the kind that Agatha Christie wrote -- Miss Marple with her grey hair, fuzzy shawl and sharp brain to solve the mystery of whose body was in the libray, and more importantly, who killed her? I love these.

Christie, Sayers, Allingham, Tey -- these are the greats which you just don't find anymore. That is, until I came across a recent series mentioned on the 4real forum. Seems that a woman named Susan Wittig Albert has started a new series of mysteries with Beatrix Potter -- yes, of "Peter Rabbit" fame -- as the main character. The first of the series, The Tale of Hill Top Farm, sets the scene with Beatrix Potter first coming to the Lake District after purchasing a small farm in a small town called Near Sawrey. The mystery that ensues is a true "cozy" with lots of red herrings and amusing characters. Ms. Albert enriches the story by including a glossary of Lake District slang, recipes appropriate to the era (early 20th century) and a bibliography for more information about Beatrix Potter and her era.

The sequel, The Tale of Holly How, continues the adventures of Ms. Potter in her new village. She still doesn't live full time in Near Sawrey, but she somehow manages to get embroiled in yet another murder. There are still lots of great, amusing characters to fill the spaces between the mystery segments. There are still lots of great recipes, vocabulary words and resources listed at the end of the book.

This would be an awesome addition to a unit on Beatrix Potter -- for the 10 and ups who are still fascinated by the tales of Benjamin Bunny, Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck, this is a great glimpse at BP's life outside her books....


and Happy and blessed 2006!


Amy said...

Hi Mary,
I just discovered your blog! Thanks for telling us about Alta Seymour. And I like mysteries too. Do you like P.D. James?

Susan said...

Hi, Mary--Somebody mentioned to me that they had seen your post, "Mysteries the way they should be written," so I dropped in on your blog. Thanks for mentioning my work! I'm glad that you've enjoyed these Beatrix Potter books--they are such an enormous pleasure to write, and so different from the rest of my work. I would love to hear from teachers who are using them in the classroom, or recommending them as auxiliary reading. There's also quite a lot of supplementary material on the series website:

Again, many thanks!
Susan Albert