The Tale of Briar Bank

Written by Susan Wittig Albert
Review by Vicki Kondelik

This fifth entry in the mystery series featuring children’s author Beatrix Potter opens in December 1909, when a snowstorm brings life in the village of Sawrey, where Beatrix owns a farm, to a standstill. Shortly after her arrival, Beatrix finds out that Hugh Wickstead, a collector of antiquities, has been killed by a falling tree limb. But how could a limb have fallen on him when there was no wind? Is it true, as the village gossip would have it, that he was killed because of a curse on a treasure he discovered? While Beatrix and her talking animal friends work to solve the mystery, she begins to develop an attraction to local solicitor Will Heelis, which is hard for her to acknowledge because she wishes to remain loyal to her dead fiancé’s memory.

Many readers will find this series, with its talking animals, too cutesy, but I find these books an absolute delight, the ultimate comfort read. Albert is careful to make her stories fit the actual events of Beatrix Potter’s life, while at the same time creating believable fictional characters, both human and animal. Curl up with a cup of tea (or your favorite hot beverage) and enjoy!