STORMSEARCH by Robert Westall


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A rather conventional historical mystery about two kids vacationing with their uncle on England's south coast. After a storm unearths a scale model of a sailing ship, buried on the beach by another storm 100 years ago, Uncle Geoff restores it and, with the help of narrator Tim Vaux and some local authorities, begins to piece together a tragic story: the ship had been used to carry messages between two lovers, a robber baron's daughter and the ""bad Vaux"" of his generation; and the ship's failure to deliver its message about an assignation caused both their lives to end in tragedy. What's entertaining here is not so much the century-old romance as the way Uncle Geoff and Tim are able to piece it together with the help of archives, reconstructing the ship's voyages, digging for a presumed treasure and, in the end, a serendipitous bit of wind (""I don't think it was anything supernatural""). Meanwhile, Westall creates several pungent characters with his usual skill--Uncle Geoff, for example, is an unusually engaging blend of avid professor and enthusiastic schoolboy; it's no wonder Tim resolves to be one of the bad Vauxes, like him. An undemanding tale, and not in Westall's soul-searching vein, but good fun.

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 1992
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: "Farrar, Straus & Giroux"