cover image The Tale of Oat Cake Crag

The Tale of Oat Cake Crag

Susan Wittig Albert, Berkley Prime Crime, $23.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-23661-1

Albert's charming seventh Beatrix Potter tale (after 2009's The Tale of Applebeck Orchard) finds Beatrix at Hill Top Farm in the Lake District, where she has taken refuge from her parents, who she knows will disapprove of her secret engagement to solicitor Will Heelis just as they disapproved of her engagement six years earlier to her editor, Norman Warne, who died before the two could marry. Meanwhile, Beatrix and the local birds and animals, including a teenage dragon, must put up with "a beastly fly-swimming spluttering aeroplane" that's been careering up and down Lake Windemere. More upsetting is the serious injury to Fred L. Baum, one of the plane's developers, who's found by Rascal, a popular Jack Russell terrier, at the bottom of Oat Cake Crag. The mystery element may be mild, but Albert does a fine job of recreating the wistful, nostalgic mood of Potter's children's books. (Sept.)