Saturday, August 10, 2013
The Last Summer of the Camperdowns by Elizabeth Kelly
Riddle Camperdown is telling the story, looking back on the eventful summer of her twelfth year at her home in Cape Cod. Riddle was a mess of hormones at that time. Her contrariness mystified her parents and herself. She was constantly skirmishing with her mother, a former actress: "My mother offered up her best falsely conciliatory gaze -- imagine a spitting cobra composing a thank-you note written in venom."
Riddle definitely had my sympathy. Her father encouraged her to be a tough girl, while her mother expected decorum. The adults around Riddle teased her about her crush on 19-year-old Harry Devlin, whose younger brother had recently disappeared. Harry, meanwhile, was perplexed by Riddle's behaviour.
"Obviously Harry had never before met a teenage girl hell-bent on persuading the world that she moonlighted as a Screaming Eagle. Taking a deep breath, I worked to stave off lumbering waves of personal mortification. It was like trying to swallow bleach. Then something darker than mere embarrassment settled inside me. I remembered what it was that had caused me to pass out."
The Last Summer of the Camperdowns is an engaging novel with an eccentric cast of characters, great dialogue, and a twisty plot of new and old mysteries.
Readalike: Seating Arrangements (Maggie Shipstead).