Friday, July 17, 2009

Book Review: Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone [2009]

A review on the back of The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival: Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone, by Dene Low, describes the narrative as "frothy," and nothing could be more true. The plot (best approached without looking too closely at the details, or it might collapse under the weight of its own frothiness) concerns the kidnapping of two dignitaries on the eve of narrator Petronella Arbuthnot's sixteenth birthday. With the aid of her insect-ingesting uncle Augustus, bosom friend Jane and Jane's handsome brother James, and her butler, and the hindrance of a raft of relatives, a disappointed suitor, and various members of local law enforcement, Petronella delves to the bottom of the mystery. I highly approve of the book's Edwardian setting and sensibility (especially the exotic names of the cast--one time you will find me pushing for intriguing names), although occasionally the writing was nearly undone by its own cleverness. More style than substance, but an enjoyable read nonetheless, and the first in a series.

Grade: B

Random Thoughts:

The cover and interior art is adorable. The packaging is definitely what drew me to this book in the bookstore, although of course I ultimately got it through ILL.

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