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The Night the Penningtons Vanished

Marianna Heusler

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Larcom Press

Published : 2002

Copyright : Marianna Heusler 2002

ISBN-10 : PB 0-9714370-0-9
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-9714370-0-5

Publisher's Write-Up

Alone in her aunt's gift shop How Do I Love Thee? late one evening, Isabella Ripa opens the door to a glamorous woman carrying a birdcage. Isabella is enchanted by the woman's love birds and agrees to take them - at least for the night - until she can persuade her Aunt Talullah to adopt the pair, called the Penningtons. But in the morning the birds are gone. In their place is a book of love poems. As Isabella and her friends set out to recover the birds, they become embroiled in a mystery of a missing actress, a robbery and an intruder in Aunt Talullah's house.

The Night the Penningtons Vanished introduces a delightful trio of friends who work together to solve one strange problem after another. Buffetted by the demands of her teen years and conflict with her older sister, Isabella is determined to get to the bottom of the Penningtons mystery.

'Three teenagers, two love birds, plus one body add up to a magical mystery you'll remember!'

Robin Hathaway, The Doctor and the Dead Man's Chest

'2003 Edgar Nominee, Best Young Adult Novel .'

Mystery Writers of America

'Engaging teenage characters, bright dialogue and a scary plot. A good read!'

Carole Berry, Death of a Downsizer
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Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Molly Martin (300419) Rating (9/10)

Review by Molly Martin
Book Source: Not Known
Rating 9/10

Isabella Ripa does know she is not to open the boutique door whenever Aunt Tallulah is not present. Aunt Tallulah is NOT present as The Reader begins to read Marianna Heusler’s The Night the Penningtons Vanished.

The sophisticated woman at the door appears to be nearly frantic, and, Aunt Tallulah present or not, Isabella does open the door nonetheless.

Consequently, Isabella commences upon an escapade jam-packed with homicide, disappearing, intrigue, manoeuvring and collusion. Isabella as well as her older sister are wards of Aunt Tallulah following the girls’ father’s death in addition to their abandonment by their mother.

Isabella, along with Vicki and Lauren, her two dearest friends, set out to determine what has become of the Penningtons. The quest leads the girls to just about becoming victims of a distressed con man who has already killed and is prepared to murder again.

On the pages of The Night the Penningtons Vanished, Writer Heusler proves her writing acumen. Her first book Buried in the Townhouse was a charming, fast paced mystery filled with memorable characters set against a backdrop of humour and surprises. The Night the Penningtons Vanished is a mystery as well, however, this one is for the younger set.

I found The Night the Penningtons Vanished to be a well-crafted work occupied with nicely wrought, believable characters. Isabella is a bit overweight, eats too much, and, as are her friends, is inclined to jump to conclusions; pretty much as are many fifteen-year-olds in today’s society. Vicki and Lauren prove perfect foils to Isabella’s investigating.

Carla, the older sister, is an egocentric girl, who is angry at the world, will not study, and, is driving Aunt Tallulah up the wall. All in all, Carla behaves much as do many seventeen-year-olds who are not quite little kid and is not at all an adult, doesn’t like the situation she has been thrust into, dad’s death, abandonment, and now living with an Aunt she is not sure she likes, and doesn’t know how to make things better.

Discourse between the characters is credible, believable and plausible as the girls wrangle among themselves, tussle with Aunt Tallulah and seemingly snag setups, circumstances and explanations out of the air to describe what is happening.

Writer Heusler’s adroit affinity for portrayal, scene setting and elucidation serves her well, The Reader is drawn right into settings, we see the frightening, feel the cold, and taste the bitter. The storyline is well plotted, moves along from first pages to final paragraphs without problem, and culminates with a satisfying conclusion.

NOTE: Be prepared for a surprise or two along the way.

The Night the Penningtons Vanished is sure to please many mature middle school readers as well as the young adult set. Parents, teachers and home schoolers alike will find The Night the Penningtons Vanished a valuable addition to their library.

Well done, happy to recommend.
Molly Martin (30th April 2019)

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