The Midnight Dress

Karen Foxlee, Author, Olivia MacKenzie-Smith, Read by
Karen Foxlee, read by Olivia Mackenzie-Smith. Listening Library, unabridged, seven CDs, 8.5 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-0-8041-2363-1
Reviewed on: 01/06/2014
Release date: 10/01/2013
This haunting story alternates between the present—in which local police in a smalltown Australia try to solve the murder of a girl whose body was found in a midnight-blue dress—and the past, which details the circumstances leading up to the crime. In those earlier events, 15-year-old Rose comes to town with her shiftless drifter father and becomes fast friends with a girl named Pearl. Seeing that Rose cannot afford a new dress for a town event, Pearl suggests she visit eccentric Edie for help sewing one—thus the midnight-blue dress is born, setting into motion a tragic chain of events. Narrator Mackenzie-Smith is Australian and thus ably provides authentic accents for the characters. She lends Edie a distinct voice, but doesn’t clearly differentiate Rose, Pearl, and their schoolmates—and this can be confusing to listeners. Mackenzie-Smith’s narration is clean and clear, if somewhat uniform, and the murder mystery and significance of the dress will keep listeners engaged until the very end. Ages 14-up. A Knopf hardcover. (Oct.)
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