The Tale of Holly How

Written by Susan Wittig Albert
Review by Nina de Angeli

Running commentary from badgers, dogs, sheep, and other creatures of farm and field give a suitably Peter Rabbitish flavor to this tale of murderous neighbors set in the English Lake District village of Sawrey in 1906. The mystery begins when famed children’s book author and new landowner Beatrix Potter discovers the bludgeoned body of a local shepherd while looking for her lost sheep. Who could have killed old Ben Hornby, tenant of a fine property coveted by his neighbors?

While Beatrix plays sleuth, aiding the magistrate looking for clues, another drama unfolds in the village. Wealthy Lady Longford neglects her orphaned granddaughter Caroline and succumbs to the influence of her two-faced lady’s companion, Miss Martine. The plot thickens when Lady Longford develops a mysterious intestinal ailment and Caroline overhears a suspicious conversation threatening her own safety. Albert’s charming style places her low-key mystery with its engaging human and animal characters in a lovingly described lake country landscape. 2nd in series.