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Mystery, magic, and romance
on July 1, 2002
If you're looking for a story that's a little out of the ordinary, pick up "The Tricksters" by Margaret Mahy. "The Tricksters" is romance, supernatural phenomena, mystery and family drama all rolled into one book full of rich detail and fully realized characters. Mahy's writing is superb. There is nothing basic about the basic plot of "The Tricksters" buy I'll try to sum it up as briefly as possible: Harry (really Ariadne) is on Christmas vacation at the beach (New Zealand - the seasons are swapped) with her family. The five Hamilton children and their parents have been returning to "Carnivals Hide," their vacation home for several years. The place is a family tradition for them and holds the romance and intrigue of the mysterious past of it's original owners, the Carnivals. The children often retell the story and play pretend games involving young Teddy Carnival, a former resident of the home, who tragically drowned, leaving his poor grieving father to sink further into the seclusion of Carnival's Hide.
This Christmas, Harry and her family are surprised by three unexpected visitors. Ovid and his twin brothers Hadfield and Felix appear on the beach one day. They perform magic tricks and speak in eloquent riddles and tell of a connection to the Carnival family. To Harry, they appear to have been born straight out of her own imagination - the romance novel she is secretly writing - and she suspects they are not the jovial, romantic brothers they portray but a mystery of a more sinister nature. Who and what are the three tricksters and what is there true business at Carnival's Hide and with the Hamilton family? Magically, the answers are teased out in riddles and hints until finally they culminate in the revelations of a family secret.