Thursday, August 08, 2019

The Good Thieves

Rundell, Katherine. The Good Thieves.
August 27th 2019 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Vita Marlowe and her mother have just come to 1930s New York City to help her grandfather, who is living in a tiny apartment above Carnegie Hall because he has been swindled out of the family mansion, Hudson Castle. A land developed and mafia type, Mr. Sorrotore, claims that the grandfather sold him the castle for $200; the grandfather maintains he was just renting it, but has given up fighting because he is still mourning the death of his wife. Vita, who is a bit lame due to complications with polio, takes it upon herself to go visit Mr. Sorrotore to ask for the property back, but this does not go well. She makes friends with a con artist who is working the party and stealing wallets, Silk, and the two manage to escape. Vita decides that she must travel to the castle to retrieve an emerald necklace there, and that might save the house if it brings in enough money. With the help of two boys working with the Lazarenko Circus in the hall, Arkady and Samuel, Vita and Silk take off on a daring adventure to the castle that is fraught with peril. Will they find the necklace, and will it save the day?
Strengths: This has a lot of action and adventure-- there are horse rides, a lot of aerial highjinks from Samuel, who works with his father on a trapeze act, and knife throwing. Sorrotore isn't giving up, but neither are the children. The fight that he and Vita have is quite brutal, but very exciting. The setting is very interesting, and Rundell has clearly done some thorough research into daily life in New York City during this time period. Vita's grandfather is sweet, and the castle ends up having a fabulous purpose at the end.
Weaknesses: This felt like an older title, somehow, reminiscent of Zilpha Keatley Snyder. I enjoyed it, but anything involving the circus does not do well in my library.
What I really think: I will probably not purchase; it's not something my students ask for, although I am always enthralled by mansions and enjoyed the story. This is similar to books like The Treasure of Maria Mamoun and Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter  that are books I love and still can't get students to check out.

Years ago, I read a book about the messages that clothes convey to people, and I really took it to heart. I wear a lot of long skirts because people read them as "this person is nurturing"; also, I'm 5"1'. I wear jackets to convey authority; they are also usually about $1.50 at the thrift store.

I love Lands End, and the local Ohio Thrift stores seem to get their returns or overstock. My polo shirt twin set says "I am the librarian and I am here to help you" for our teacher work day. Skirt is washable in case I need to crawl on the floor and hook up computers.

1 comment:

  1. No only do you have a jacket but you also have the Amulet of Awesomeness, which magically grants Awesome Authority to any and all librarians.