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Eric Wilson.
Toronto, ON: HarperCollins, 1992.
110pp., galley, $14.95.
ISBN 0-00-223753-9. (A Tom Austen mystery). CIP.

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14

Reviewed by Ted Monkhouse.

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September

Another Tom Austen mystery for the thousands of Eric Wilson fans across Canada and the U.S.A.. The loyalty these young readers have developed for Wilson's previous fifteen books will not diminish with this, his latest and eagerly awaited novel.

The now fourteen-year-old Tom recounts how, when he was eleven, he rescued his kidnapped friend, the wealthy Dianne, with whom he's secretly in love. Overhearing a plot in an abandoned, mysterious house, young Tom gradually pieces together events and people - a fake murderer, an ex-convict school janitor, and a favourite teacher who turns out to be the perpetrator - that lead him to a rescue in a wilderness cabin in the bitter cold of a Manitoba winter.

Wilson weaves in lots of information about this part of Canada. The young characters carry on in ways readily identifiable by young readers in both familiar and unfamiliar settings.

Wilson, as we've come to expect, does an admirable job reflecting moral, family and societal values throughout his stories without preaching. Parents can feel confident in their children's reading as can librarians.

Highly recommended.

Ted Monkhouse is a school library consultant with the Wellington County Board of Education in Guelph, Ontario.
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