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The Penguin Pool Murder (Hildegarde Withers Mysteries) Paperback – December 1, 2007
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About the Author
Julie McKay is a Los Angeles-based narrator with New York roots, a degree in music, and a background in classical theater. As an actor, she has worked at Shakespeare festivals and regional theaters across the country as well as Off-Broadway in New York. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Much about this murder mystery will seem dated to the modern reader, certainly the language and societal norms, but also the idea that a schoolteacher could get swept up in a police homicide investigation and play an official role in its solution. Seen in the light of the popular films and books of the times, however, it is quite natural, as is the zany comedy. Modern readers who can set aside their prejudices and bigotry and accept the story presented at face value will enjoy this wonderful book.
Miss Withers sees that the cops and an ambulance are called. She's a take-charge person in the old battle-axe tradition (though she’s not old). Soon she's put her wits at the service of Detective Piper. Piper is not an easy man to push around, being rather rude and aggressive. Yet he can't help noticing that Miss Withers is a shrewd observer and a natural born sleuth. They become unofficial partners in this very perplexing case.
Every time Miss Withers has a brilliant insight, Piper say, "I also thought of that." Their relationship is a hoot.
He's less dogged than she is, though. Miss Withers is a champion of old-fashioned justice. Even with the Prosecutor working hard for an easy solution, she won't give up because she doubts that the young couple hastily accused of the crime are guilty.
The Aquarium is a great locale for a murder. There's something repulsive about all those fish, their cold-blooded snake-like bodies and their filmy eyes. But the penguins are quite endearing -- personable and prone to eat bits of evidence. Stuart Palmer was inordinately fond of penguins, perhaps because this book was such a hit. His house was full of penguin tchotchkes.
The plot of The Penguin Pool Murder is lively and full of surprises. The story has a vintage flavor, which is a plus for me. The book was first published in 1931, and the great stock market crash of 1929 is still reverberating in the lives of the characters.
Ms. McKay was perfect as Hildegard, and did okay with the men, too.
I am glad that I bought it on the cheap as Whispersync courtesy of EarlyBirdBooks.com.