Driftwhistler: A Story of Daniel Au Fond

Tom Shachtman, Author Henry Holt & Company $14.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-8050-1285-9
Londoners Jamie and Tim are vacationing at the home of Tim's grandparents. One night the boys are told the legend surrounding this English village--that a mystical ``power'' lurking beneath the crypt of a disused church has arbitrarily killed at the sound of the steeple bell. That evening, after years of silence, the bell suddenly chimes, and an elderly, wealthy neighbor is found dead, his skull smashed. The police deem the case a homicide, but without a murderer they're forced to close the investigation. One year later, Jamie and Tim return and conduct their own sleuthing. Wilde's novel is excruciatingly slow-paced and his culprit's identity is unsurprising. The repetitive dialogue contains pages of exposition, and foreshadowing is used to an extreme. Activity is seen, intermittently, from Jamie's perspective. Though he is virtually indistinguishable from Tim, in the end he assumes heroic stature by single-handedly solving the crime via a long-winded explanation. Also, an abundance of British expressions (``put paid to that custard'') may baffle readers. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
Genre: Children's
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