Friday, April 5, 2013

Deep Moat Grange  -  1908
Samuel Rutherford Crockett
370 pages
genre  -  Mystery (with gothic tendencies)
my rating  -  3 out of 5 stars

The story is told in the first person by a young man.  His name is Joe Yarrow, who is "a big fellow and getting on for seventeen."  The author did a very good job of making this boy appealing.  His attitude, witty asides, charm and down-to-earthiness kept the story from getting too dark. 

Before school starts that morning, Joe has gone to his girlfriend's house to talk to her.  He describes Elsie as "ever such a nice girl", "pretty, but not set up about it", "a tallish slip of a girl, who walked like a boy, a first-rate whistler, and a good jumper at a ditch."  Elsie opens a front window to talk to Joe.  They hadn't gotten far into a conversation when Elsie points at something over Joe's shoulder.  "Do look - what's that?"  It's the village postman's wagon, without a driver and splattered with blood.  The postman is missing, along with the mail bags and parcels he would have picked up that morning.  It's a mystery. 

Soon there are more missing people, hidden tunnels, a minister's secrets, kidnapping, mobs, two irritating girls from London, and madness. 

I had a hard time deciding on my rating.  Although I enjoyed the story, it didn't keep my attention.  And the author did tend to go off on long tangents.   

About the author  -

Samuel Rutherford Crockett was born 24 September 1859 in Galloway, Scotland.  He graduated from Edinburgh University in 1879.  After travelling for a few years, he became in a minister in 1886. That same year he produced a book of verse.  Crockett soon gave up the ministry for novel writing.  Most of his novels featured his native Galloway.  He was friends with J M Barrie and R L Stevenson.  A monument to Crockett can be seen at Laurieston, near Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire.

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