Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Louisa and the Crystal Gazer

Finished Louisa and the Crystal Gazer: A Louisa May Alcott Mystery by Ann Maclean. Knowing my love of anything Alcott, my daughter picked this book up at our local mystery book shop, Aunt Agatha's. It's actually the second book in the series. Louisa is in Boston, staying with a family friend and working hard as a seamstress in order to earn money for family Christmas presents. Although Louisa thinks it's all bosh, her friend Sylvia talks her into attending a seance with her at the home of famous Boston medium, Mrs. Percy. Among the colorful cast of seance attendees is Mr. P. T. Barnum, who Louisa takes an immediate liking to. When the group is invited for a second sitting, they arrive only to find Mrs. that Percy has been locked into her own preparation room, and is dead. Various suspects become obvious to Louisa as she works to resolve the case.

This book was an enjoyable read with the Alcott aspects well researched. The take away moment, for me, was minor and yet mind-blowing. Louisa takes her sister Lizzie for a music lesson at the home of a world renowned Italian musician, Signor Massimo. Upon entering his house she detects an unfamiliar aroma and says to Lizzie, "What is that smell, do you think? Garlic? How wonderful! I would love to taste some." In 1855 most Americans had never tasted garlic, something we now encounter on a daily basis. Think of that.

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