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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2002
This is tasty little mystery story. It lasts for a short 223 pages and yet it manages to pack in a surprising amount of character development and action between its covers.
The heroine, Amelia Jones, is an endearing young woman taking her first real steps out into the world. Amelia impulsively purchases the Ebbtide Shop, a musty antique store stocked with junk and marvelous finds. She decides to put aside one item, a hurdy-gurdy (or hand organ box), as a furnishing for her upstairs apartment. When the hurdy-gurdy mysteriously stops playing music, Amelia opens the box and discovers a desperate note written on faded paper. The message begins with "They are going to kill me soon..." and ends with "...my name is Hannah." Amelia believes that the note is likely genuine. When questions about Hannah's fate begin to consume her, Amelia ventures further out into the world on a quest to find out the truth. Along the way, she meets many interesting people and becomes involved in a variety of unusual circumstances. The plot is a charming mix of mysterious happenings and coming-of-age realizations that make the reader vitally interested in Amelia's story and how it intertwines with Hannah's.
Though this book is shorter than I usually read, I highly recommend it. I think that it is particularly ideal for anyone wishing to read poolside or during their lunchbreak. The interesting storyline and clean writing style make it easy to pick up again after taking a nap or experiencing one of life's other interruptions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2000
Dorothy Gilman has done it again. She is most well known for her Mrs. Pollifax series which I have never read but her stand alone mysteries are excellent. The Tightrope Walker is a wonderful novel - the characters are well drawn and the plot really pulls you in.
This is the story of an introverted young woman, Amelia Jones, who finds a terrifying and mysterious note about a possible murder in a hurdy gurdy (those stand up music boxes that you usually see a monkey with a hat attached to...). This note intrigues her enough to try to find out who wrote it as well as the well being of the writer.
This leads Amelia on a journey through time as well as place. Through this search Amelia meets many interesting people - from a stage actor in New York to a handwriting analyst in her home town of Trafton - Amelia sees it all and learns to love in the process. Tightrope Walker is also a story within a story as Amelia constantly refers back to her favorite childhood book, "The Maze in the Heart of the Castle" which I would love to read (much as dlch3@juno.com would).
Will Amelia find out who the mysterious author of the note is and what ever became of her? You will have to read this wonderful book to find out and if you are lucky - you will discover a great writer along the way.
If you like Tightrope Walker - you should also Read Gilman's "Thale's Folly" and "The Clairvoyant Countess" - they all show the same wonderful traits - fully drawn and intriguing characters who you want to get to know better and an interesting and well written plot that you wish would never end.
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on January 23, 2002
This is tasty little mystery story. It lasts for a short 223 pages and yet it manages to pack in a surprising amount of character development and action between its covers.
The heroine, Amelia Jones, is an endearing young woman taking her first real steps out into the world. Amelia impulsively purchases the Ebbtide Shop, a musty antique store stocked with junk and marvelous finds. She decides to put aside one item, a hurdy-gurdy (or hand organ box), as a furnishing for her upstairs apartment. When the hurdy-gurdy mysteriously stops playing music, Amelia opens the box and discovers a desperate note written on faded paper. The message begins with "They are going to kill me soon..." and ends with "...my name is Hannah." Amelia believes that the note is likely genuine. When questions about Hannah's fate begin to consume her, Amelia ventures further out into the world on a quest to find out the truth. Along the way, she meets many interesting people and becomes involved in a variety of unusual circumstances. The plot is a charming mix of mysterious happenings and coming-of-age realizations that make the reader vitally interested in Amelia's story and how it intertwines with Hannah's.
Though this book is shorter than I usually read, I highly recommend it. I think that it is particularly ideal for anyone wishing to read poolside or during their lunchbreak, because the storyline is always interesting and easy to get back into should life interrupt one's reading.
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on March 14, 2000
Gilman can write. Her protagonist, Amelia Jones, is a real person, with a history beyond the front cover of the book. That history is revealed slowly, in fact Amelia doesn't realise how much is revealed, during the course of the story; gradually the reader is drawn into her life as much as her search for a past murder, victim, and murderer(s), until knowing that Amelia is growing and maturing greatly is perhaps more important than knowing that the evil ones will be brought to justice. The only downside to the book is that there is a simply wonderful book "The Maze in the Heart of the Castle" central to both the plot and Amelia's character; i want to read that book, but Gilman invented it and its sequel without writing them. Very unfair of her, i thought.
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on July 18, 1998
A note found in a old hurdy-gurdy (barrel organ) leads a young woman on a search for answers about its author and finds more than she bargained for. Another excellent tale of self-development with a backdrop of small town life and painted in sharp colors of good & evil. Just enough suspense to keep it interesting. If you liked 'Uncertain Voyage', you'll like this one, too.
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