May 30, 2020

‘Jolly Roger’ will shiver ye timbers Avast, preteens, this tale is for you

Editor’s Note: Maine Bound is a column featuring new books written by Maine authors or set in the Pine Tree State.

UNDER THE JOLLY ROGER, by L.A. Meyer, Harcourt, New York, 2005, paperback, 528 pages, $17.

The Corea author brings back his plucky, reluctant heroine for the third book in the “Bloody Jack” preteen fiction series, set in the early 19th century. And despite her best efforts, the resourceful orphan again finds herself in the middle of adventures on the high seas.

When last year’s “Curse of the Blue Tattoo” closed, Mary “Jacky” Faber has just been kicked out of the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston and signed onto a whaling ship, in order to return to her hometown of London and hopefully to hook up with her beloved Jaimy.

Of course, nothing ever goes smoothly for the hotheaded Jacky, whose rash actions result in her being at sea in one bad situation after another, which the resourceful preteen still manages to turn to her advantage.

It’s not essential to have read the previous two books in the series, the aforementioned “Curse” and 2002’s “Bloody Jack,” as Meyer provides a good amount of back story. This volume is a book accessible to both prior and new readers.

Best of all, “Under the Jolly Roger” is a good, old-fashioned yarn, which can be enjoyed both by its target audience and adults alike. It leaves readers wondering what kind of trouble Jacky can get into next.

THE BODY IN THE SNOWDRIFT, by Katherine Hall Page, Wm. Morrow, New York, 2005, hardcover, 243 pages, $23.95.

As if skiing didn’t have enough inherent risks, now trouble has followed Faith Fairchild, caterer extraordinaire and amateur sleuth, to the mountains in this latest mystery by Deer Isle summer resident Page.

Not that any of this was Faith’s idea. She was only staying at Pine Slopes, a small, family-run ski resort in Vermont, for a gathering of her husband Tom’s clan to celebrate his father’s 70th birthday.

As for the incidents that take place, well, that’s simply a case of wrong place, wrong time.

In “The Body in the Snowdrift,” the suspects are as plentiful as the newly fallen flakes. Who wants the resort, already in tough financial straits, to fail, and who would stand to benefit? Or it is something more personal? Faith struggles to sort this out, all the while helping out in the kitchen as well. (The usual recipes are at book’s end.)

Page has whipped up another tasty concoction, which will leave her readers guessing until the very end and wanting another serving of Faith Fairchild.

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