Friday, July 28, 2006

The Tale of Hill Top Farm by Susan Wittig Albert

In honor of Beatrix Potter’s birthday today, the famed author and illustrator of the popular Peter Rabbit books, I finished reading The Tale of Hill Top Farm by Susan Wittig Albert. The first in a cozy mystery series featuring Beatrix Potter on her trip to visit the small farm she had just purchased to escape from her domineering parents. The death of Miss Tolliver has the residents of the small village of Near Sawrey speculating as to the cause. First taken as a natural death, more sinister implications are discussed as odd things keep occurring in the village. The parish register has gone missing, the school roof fund disappears and lastly, Beatrix notices that a very valuable painting has disappeared from Miss Tolliver’s empty house. As the residents of the town try to figure out what is going on, the town animals do their best as well. Incorporating the animals thinking and conversing to themselves are just another delightful aspect to the series.

This is definitely a very gentle cozy mystery and more on the cozy part than on the mystery. Not too much investigating goes on but lots of gossip amongst the townspeople. Beatrix, trying to get away from her parents and recover from the death of her fiancĂ©, does not get the peaceful life she had expected. I wasn’t too sure about the animals but it fit very well with the storyline. Beatrix brought her two rabbits, hedgehog and mouse with her from London and they do have a small outing into the wilderness but the stars of the book are the village pets. Rascal, a Jack Russell terrier and the cats, Tabitha Twitchit, Crumpet, and Miss Felicia Frummety do their part in solving the mysteries around town. It was a cute story and definitely for those days when you want something low key to read. If you want to get some coloring pages from Beatrix Potter’s books, visit or to visit Susan Wittig Albert’s site for more on The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter or her other series, China Bayles Herbal Mysteries (the character China Bayles just started her own herbal based blog).

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