COMPASS IN THE BLOOD by Jr. Coles

COMPASS IN THE BLOOD

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1902, Katherine Soffel, wife of a prison warden, became the talk of Pittsburgh when she helped a convicted murderer and his brother escape and ran away with them. Some may know this story from the film Mrs. Soffel from the 1980s. The intrigue of the case is kept alive in Coles’s (Another Kind of Monday, 1996, etc.) latest. After winning an award for a term paper on the Soffel scandal, Dee Armstrong, a college freshman, submits a copy to prominent television journalist, Harriet “Harry” Bromfield, who recently completed her own investigation of the case. Harry befriends Dee and asks her help in recovering Katherine Soffel’s secret diary, which may hold the truth about what really happened a century ago. To do this, Dee must, in turn, befriend Jury Hammond, Soffel’s sole remaining heir, who is also trying to locate the diary and who can provide her clues. As Harry and Dee plot to deceive Jury, Dee eventually discovers that she, too, has been manipulated. Although some characters come across as stereotypical, particularly at the end of the novel, they are balanced by Dee’s fascinating investigative reporting in which she learns how the media in Soffel’s time twisted the facts, devises her own conspiracy theories, and ultimately uncovers Soffel’s hidden grave. Readers who like action will be disappointed, but readers who like historical fiction, mystery, and investigative journalism will be enthralled. (author’s note) (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-83181-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2001




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