Nooks and Crannies by Jessica Lawson

Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Summary: When Tabitha Crum gets a weekend invitation to the estate of the mysterious Countess of Windermere, she thinks it will be a fun interlude before her despicable parents drop her off at the orphanage. Five other children have been invited, and at their first dinner, the Countess reveals that all six were adopted by their parents. One of them is her long-lost grandchild, heir to a fortune. The lights go out, somebody dies mysteriously, children start disappearing, and Tabitha has to use all of her best detective powers to figure out what is going on…before it’s too late.  Grades 4-7.

Pros: Agatha Christine meets Roald Dahl in this old-fashioned page-turner. Tabitha is a lovable character, unfortunately stuck with the worst parents to disgrace the pages of a children’s book since Matilda Wormwood’s. She’s also a fan of detective fiction, and with her sidekick Pemberley the mouse, is able to puzzle out the many twists and turns this story takes. The grand finale is completely satisfying, with all loose ends neatly tied up and a happy ending for those who deserve it and just desserts for the ones who don’t.

Cons: Tabitha’s reactions to her horrible parents occasionally seemed a little to kind to be true.

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