Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Boarded-Up House  -  1915
Augusta Huiell Seaman
89 pages
genre  - Mystery, Young Adult
 my rating  - 3 out of 5 stars

Cynthia and Joyce have been best friends since kindergarten.  They even live next door to each other.  Well, except for the old boarded-up house between theirs.  It was a "...big, rambling affair of the Colonial type, with three tall pillars supporting the veranda roof and reaching above the second story...The place had been without an occupant for years."

The two young ladies are sitting on Cynthia's front porch one afternoon when they see a dog chase Joyce's cat towards the boarded-up house.  The dog soon wanders away.  The girls walk over to check on the cat, when they spy an open window into the cellar.  Looking for an adventure, the girls decide to climb in the window and snoop around. 

As they enter the dining-room, there is a mystery waiting for them.  "The table was still set with dishes...And the chairs about it were all pushed awry, and some were overturned.  Napkins, yellowed with age, were fallen about, dropped apparently in sudden forgetfulness.  The china and glassware stood as they had been left."

It takes awhile, but the girls do figure out what happened.  The story was easy to read, and it kept my attention.  But I have never cared for stories that rely on coincidence and leave out vital information to the readers.

About the author  - 

Augusta Curtiss Huiell was born in New York City, on April 3, 1879, the daughter of the bookkeeper John Valentine Huiell and his third wife, Anna Curtiss. Augusta's mother died in 1888. She graduated from Normal College (later renamed Hunter College) in New York City in 1900 and went on to teach elementary school.  She married Robert Seaman in 1906.

Following her marriage, she devoted her time to writing children's books.  Seaman wrote 42 books beginning in 1910 through 1949.  A few of Seaman's books have been reprinted, but many remain out of print. The rarest of her books are much sought after by collectors.

Her only child, Helen Roberta (Bobbie) was born in 1915. Robert died in 1927. In 1928 she married her second husband, Francis Parkman Freeman, foreman of the Phipps estate in Island Beach, New Jersey, the setting for several of her later books.

While living in Island Beach, Augusta held various offices in the local government, including Borough clerk, Tax Collector, and Borough Registrar.

She died at her home on Island Beach on June 4, 1950. She was 71.

No comments:

Post a Comment