Lawson, Jessica. Nooks & Crannies. Illustrated by Natalie Andrewson. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015. 316 pages. $16.99. 9781481419215. Ages 8-12. P8 Q8
Nooks & Crannies is a mystery navigated for us by an unfortunate eleven-year-old girl with an affinity for detective novels. Set in early 20th century Britain, this crime novel evokes the structure of Agatha Christie and the theme of Daniel Handler. With no explanation , six eleven-year-olds and their parents are invited to join the reclusive Countess of Windermere at her grand manor for the weekend. Tabitha Crum, our protagonist, is a loner with cold parents and a persistent inner-dialogue. Her receipt of an invitation to the Windermere estate raises questions and her hopes to finally gain the love of her parents. Circumstances prove fishy upon arrival at the manor and the initial ambiguity escalates to a supposed supernatural presence. Lawson tells this twisty tale with minimal plot holes while allowing for a myriad of possible outcomes. Young readers will appreciate Andrewson’s sketches, as they aid the imagination and break up the text. This book is a successful whodunit and will be enjoyed by middle school readers who enjoy ghost stories or mysteries.
November 2015 review by Lillian Curanzy.