The Tale of Castle Cottage
by Susan Wittig Albert
Mass Market Paperback:
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
October 2, 2012
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Beatrix is eager to marry her fiancé, solicitor William Heelis. But with remodeling work at Castle Cottage, their future home, going at a snail’s pace, Beatrix finds frustration when the building contractor fires his best carpenter, Mr. Adcock, for stealing. At the same time, Will is investigating thefts on other construction sites—an inquiry that comes to a screeching halt when Mr. Adcock is found dead.
Meanwhile, the animals that live in and around the village have a problem of their own: a gang of rats has moved into the neighborhood and is stealing food and valuables from humans and animals alike. Sadly, the cats aren't up to the job of ridding the area of the rats, but something must be done before the rats clean the village out...
The Tale of Castle Cottage is a historical mystery and romance set in 1913 in England. It's the 8th book in the series, but you don't need to read the previous book to understand this one. Throughout the story, we're told snippets about what has happened in the previous novels (and the title of the novel it happened in), so the previous novels are spoiled to a certain extent if you haven't read them first.
The story was told by a storyteller describing to the reader what's happening and the back-story to what's happening. Despite this distant viewpoint, we get to know the characters because we're told some of their history and what the storyteller suspects they are thinking and feeling.
Most of the book was a biography of Miss Beatrix Potter with scenes based on her comments in real letters (at least, I'm assuming that part was real) and a little fictional mystery worked in. There was another parallel story about the animals in the area dealing with a rat thief-gang invasion. We see the animals talking to each other and at the humans, but the humans in the story only hear barks and meows and such.
The story was fun and interesting (especially if you'd like to learn more about that period of Miss Potter's life), but it wasn't a very complex story. The mystery was not a clue-puzzle whodunit as very few clues--or evidence--was given and very little time was spent on solving it.
There was a very minor amount of explicit bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and entertaining novel.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
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