A SUMMER IN THE SOUTH by James Marshall


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Marshall's first "novel" for young readers, a kookie murder mystery, is more like an extended easy reader, with no pretense to the dimension you'd associate with the label even at this level. It takes place at a summer hotel visited by disagreeable Foster Pig, complaining Don Coyote, detective Eleanor Owl and her cat assistant Mr. Paws, Miss Marietta Chicken from the circus, and a family of "cooties" who arrive in the mail in envelope number two. (Envelope number one contains a note alerting the turkey proprietor to their presence.) There's not much interaction, and the only mystery consists of strange sights and sounds that begin shortly after the arrival of four unmusical female baboons who check in as a string quartet. What are they up to? Eleanor, enlisting the cooties as spies, discovers that the baboons are seeking a treasure stolen from the Egyptian King Kluck whose tomb they guard; all that's left, then, is to pick out the perpetrator of an offstage, previously accomplished crime--and Eleanor shortly fingers the hotel's rotten cook and maid-of-all-work, a goose named Marine. To us it seems more thin than whacky; perhaps a young reader in the summer sun would reverse the judgment.
Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1977
ISBN: 0395913616
Page count: 98pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1977


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