Horton Halfpott; or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset

Tom Angleberger. Abrams/Amulet, $14.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8109-9715-8
Angleberger's rambling title sets readers up for this oddly entertaining tale of a downtrodden, mistreated kitchen boy who, through a series of haphazard events, becomes an unlikely hero. Horton Halfpott is a hardworking but oft-beaten servant at Smugwick Manor, home to the wealthy Luggertucks, including the nasty and demanding M'Lady Luggertuck and her cruel son, Luther. Comically ruthless and greedy, these two antagonists make their multitude of servants outright miserable. When a family treasure goes missing, a bumbling detective is brought it to find the culprit. Readers will enjoy Angleberger's (The Strange Case of Origami Yoda) penchant for the absurd as well as his many droll asides: "Fear not, Reader, we will not dwell on these romantic inklings, not if you don't wish to," he writes after "the most beautiful girl [Horton] had ever seen" smiles at him. "But it really was a nice smile." The ending satisfies, and with Angleberger's many eclectic characters, his wild-and-witty storytelling, and a lighthearted but perplexing mystery—involving a "lump" of diamonds, a couple of wigs, and a bust of Napoleon—readers are in for a treat. Ages 8–12. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
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