Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Gracie Fairshaw and the Trouble at the Tower

click on image to view on Amazon

2021

The story is set in Blackpool 1935 as Christmas approaches. But someone is trying to sabotage the Children’s Ballet Christmas spectacular. A piece of scenery injures a dancer, another dancer has itching powder put inside her costume and a several poisonous-pen letters are sent. Naughty chimps and escaping lions add to the drama.  The damage the chimps do often looks like part of the sabotage.   

Gracie becomes a reporter for the local newspaper. This affords the reader several details about what a writer does – and helps Gracie to do more investigating.   

There are many details of time and place here. We have a glimpse of what Christmas was like back then and in a boarding house in particular. Paper chains feature in abundance.  

Susan Brownrigg is a brilliant story teller.  This is a well-told and well-written tale. Here The Family from One End Street, meets Noel Streatfield, meets the Secret Seven, with a good deal of quirkiness and a 21st problem thrown in.  I hope Brownrigg will bring us many more episodes about Gracie.      

The mystery is solved. Albert Ramsbottom was behind all of the threats and damage.  A rumour goes around that he was eaten by a lion. Thus, Brownrigg cross-references to a well-known poem. Ramsbottom wrote his poison-pen letters on British Bulldog notepaper. Yes, he is a racist and targets the Russians and a Chinese girl. And we are kept guessing right up to the last few pages of the novel.  

The book is 235 pages long – some forty pages longer than the first book in the series.  The text is blocked but double-spaced. The font has a serif. The chapters are relatively short.  Chapter headings are in a cursive font and are fronted with a picture of an envelope with a question mark on it. At the end of the book there is a glossary which contains a lot more information about Blackpool, a note from the author on her research about the Children’s Ballet, and an author bio.            

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Gracie Fairshaw and the Trouble at the Tower

click on image to view on Amazon 2021 The story is set in Blackpool 1935 as Christmas approaches. But someone is trying to sabotage...