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THE PEAR AFFAIR by Judith Eagle Kirkus Star


by Judith Eagle ; illustrated by Jo Rioux

Pub Date: June 14th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-5362-1703-2
Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

In the summer of 1969, 12-year-old Nell confronts confounding, confusing mysteries that intertwine in unexpected ways.

She accompanies her abusive parents on a business trip from their home in Kent to Paris, determined to find her former nanny, Pear, a loving, kind, young Frenchwoman. Pear was abruptly dismissed before Nell was sent to boarding school. They corresponded regularly for five years, but Pear’s letters from Paris stopped six months ago, and Nell’s went unanswered. Nell sets out on her quest, navigating the underground tunnels of Paris with the help of new friend Xavier and other children for whom they are playground, sanctuary, and even home. But strange events are affecting the city: Boulangeries are closing at an alarming rate due to contamination of baked goods by the Thing, while locations of the new Pain-tastique chain are opening. The two are connected and involve high-level greed, corruption, secret codes, and formulas. Self-doubting Nell is prone to paralyzing fears, but she is braver than she knows as she overcomes setbacks and real dangers. Eagle masterfully maintains suspense, dispensing new clues as the events escalate, with twists and turns galore and a cast of charming, loyal friends, all set against the special atmosphere of Paris. Soft, full-page, pencil-and-ink illustrations highlight key events. A satisfying conclusion finds the villains punished, bakeries restored, and a whole new life for Nell. Most characters present White; there is a Tunisian family in the supporting cast.

A tour de force.

(Mystery. 10-14)