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Review: The Tightrope Walker by Dorothy Gilman

November 5, 2014

tightropeI adore Dorothy Gilman. The Mrs. Pollifax series is one of my absolute favorites. It’s right up there with the Aunt Dimity series in terms of comfort reading. I’ve been branching out lately (because I’ve read all the Mrs. Pollifax books several times) and reading some of Dorothy Gilman’s standalone books.
The Tightrope Walker is the most recent book I’ve picked up. It’s set in the same city as The Clairvoyant Countesswhich made me smile.

Amelia Jones has had a difficult life. Her mother died when she was eleven. Her father passed away when she was eighteen, and she has been under the benevolent eye of her psychiatrist for the last several years. At the beginning of the book, Jane comes into her majority and uses some of the money to buy the Ebb Tide Shop, a little curio cum junk shop full of things like carousel horses,  imported bathrobes, and cuckoo clocks. Among the other things there is a hurdy gurdy that Amelia decides to keep for herself.
Everything seems fine until she does some minor maintenance and finds a terrifying note. The note is from a woman named Hannah who writes that she has signed a paper and knows that they will kill her soon. Amelia becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Hannah and sets out to trace the hurdy gurdy back to its original owner.

This is a delightful book. It’s slightly dated, but that just adds to the atmosphere. Gilman has always done a good job of not putting in too many things that feel ridiculous to later readers. Amelia is a charming girl who is going way outside her comfort zone to try to solve this mystery.
There is, inevitably, a romance. This time it’s with a graphologist named Joe who she consults about Hannah’s note. There is refreshingly little drama about the whole thing, which I loved. It was somewhat palate cleansing after the soap operas of my Marion Chesney books.
The mystery is well crafted and suspenseful.
I’m listening on audio and highly recommend that version.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2014 12:45 pm

    I’m a Dorothy Gilman fan too, at least of Mrs. Pollifax. Need to check this one out!

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