cover image The Tale of Holly How: The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter

The Tale of Holly How: The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter

Susan Wittig Albert, . . Berkley Prime Crime, $23.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-425-20274-6

As in 2004's The Tale of Hill Top Farm , Albert skillfully blends fact and fiction in her second Beatrix Potter tale set in the quaint English Lake District village of Near Sawrey. Beatrix is in the midst of renovating Hill Top Farm when she discovers the body of Ben Hornby, a local sheep owner who has recently had more than his share of bad luck. She suspects foul play and joins the local constable and real-life solicitor William Heelis in investigating the cause of Hornby's demise. Still reeling from the sudden death of her fiancé, Beatrix becomes more involved with her fellow villagers, in particular 11-year-old Caroline, who lives with her grandmother, Lady Longforth. Vivid descriptions of Sawrey and its environs, attractive human characters and unobtrusive animals with delightful personalities combine to create a mystery that's a stellar tribute to the famous children's author. As charming as the "little books" themselves, this is sure to delight Beatrix Potter fans and cozy lovers everywhere. (July 5)