Juvenile Book Review: “Nooks and Crannies” by Jessica Lawson
Take one almost twelve-year-old girl, her dearest and only friend Pemberley, a mouse, and a very detailed reading of the mystery novels of Percival Pensive. and you’ve got a really good mystery with murder, money, and mayhem.
In Nooks and Crannies by Jessica Lawson, young Tabitha Crum, along with five other almost-twelves, receives an invitation to spend a weekend at the wealthy Holllingsworth Hall estate, home of the reclusive Camilla Lenora DeMoss, Countess of Windmere. Why such an invitation should reach the hands of Tab, an urchin created in the style of Dickens’ Oliver Twist, surprises both Tab and her wretched, selfish, greedy parents. They, however, see this as a golden opportunity to perhaps get even more ill-gotten riches for themselves.
Hollingsworth Hall lives up to its reputation as a fabulous estate, with glorious meals that are very welcome to underfed Tab. The servants tell Tab about weird noise, rushes of cold air, and, of course, ghosts. There are an attic, basement, hidden doors, peepholes, and all manner of goings on to keep Tab on her toes with the help of Percival Pensive’s instructions and Pemberley.
The adults and children in the other five families are surely relatives of the crew that visited Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory. A few are greedy, spiteful, selfish, and such, while others are kind, resourceful, and helpful. Tab has to get along with everyone in order to solve the mysteries that occur under her very nose at Hollingsworth. Bodies appear, children go missing, and the very odd Countess likes to play games of catch with very long, sharp knives. While collecting clues, is it possible that Tabitha might also make a human friend? Read it and see.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York (2015). Reviewed by Lillian Hecker, Children’s Services Librarian. For readers 9 – 12.