The Tale of Castle Cottage
Susan Wittig Albert
Berkley, Sep 6 2011, $24.95
In the summer of1913, Beatrix Potter is currently residing at Hill Top Farm in the Lake District while working on her latest story The Tale of Pigling Bland. She admits to her publisher that her eight drawings are not that good as Beatrix still recovers from her recent illness in which she lived with her parents at their domicile in Kensington. As she works on her latest novel, Beatrix also oversees the renovation of her new home that she and her fiancé solicitor William Heelis will move into once Mr. Biddle finishes the Castle Cottage improvements and they are married (in spite of the doubts of her parents).
While the author struggles with her new work, the locals of nearby Near Sawrey begin to misplace items ranging in value from baked goods to money to family heirlooms. Her friend Sarah Barwick believes she is the victim of a thief, but fears it is someone she knows. However that pales in comparison to the death of carpenter Lewis Adcock who was just fired by Biddle. Beatrix and Will end up investigating the thefts, the death and Biddle’s lack of commitment to the castle Cottage renovation.
The eighth Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter (see The Tale of Oat Cake Crag) is a great historical cozy that brings to life the Lake District just prior to WWI. The story line is a wonderful entertaining tale as once again Susan Wittig Albert combines Ms. Potter’s real life, the fables of the animals who dominate her tales and an enjoyable amateur sleuth into a delightful story.