WE DARE NOT GO A-HUNTING by Charlotte MacLeod


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In the summer of 1932, with the Depression having its effect on the New Englanders of Netaquid Island, Molly Bassett is grateful to get a job as babysitter to four-year-old Sammy Truell. Most Netaquidders have not found employment with the summer people this year because of last-season's kidnapping of Annette Sotherby, daughter of one of the rich off-island Ledger families; though Annette was returned virtually unharmed for a token ransom, Sotherby pÉre blames the islanders--and, moreover, fears for his child's sanity since she persists in describing the fairies she spent her missing week with. Molly's concern for young Sammy ultimately involves her with Annette, the earlier mystery, and a new kidnapping . . . when Sammy's grandmother dies and leaves his parents wealthier than even the other Ledger families. Molly is an appealing figure with lots of good sense and little sentimentality; and the author's easy descriptive talents flesh out the island relationships with larceny, rum-running, insanity, and gentle romance. True, coincidences multiply rapidly as the action mounts: Molly happens to speak some Italian, the language of the Truell's housekeeper, because of a friendship with a former island handyman; she happens to have seen two midgets do an act standing one on the shoulders of the other, leading her to suspect the truth about reclusive ""Mr. Frisben""; the sham psychologist and his helper hired by Mr. Sotherby to cure his daughter of the fairies happen to have been in a show with the strong woman and midgets/fairies involved with Annette; Mr. Truell happens to be in a position to help the three victimized women into jobs with a radio show. But never mind: the reality of the fairies--midgets trying to keep secret their presence on the island to avoid the customary stares--lends an air of believability to the whole involved tale; and it's as much fun to disentangle as the author's previous mysteries.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1980
Publisher: Atheneum