Review Blog

Aug 12 2011

A Pocketful of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson

cover image

Allen And Unwin, 2011. ISBN 9781742376196.
(Age 13+) Recommended.
Blurb from cover:
'Bee is in her element volunteering in the taxidermy department at the Museum of Natural History - but her summer job turns out to be full of surprises: A dead body in the Red Rotunda. A mysterious Museum benefactor. A large stuffed tiger in the catacombs. A handsome boy with a fascination for unusual animal mating habits. And a pocket full of glass eyes. Can Bee sift through the clues and discover if her colleague committed suicide or if there's a murderer in their midst?'
Bee doesn't believe that her boss, Gus, committed suicide. She's convinced that it was murder and, like the heroines in the books that she has loved, (Trixie Belden and those in books by Janet Evanovich and Agatha Christie) she is determined to find out what happened. With the gorgeous Toby by her side, Bee starts investigating and she takes the reader on a thrilling ride as she plunges from one suspect to another. This all happens in the Museum of Natural History as Bee works on bringing animals back to life with glass eyes and tiny stitches. I really enjoyed learning the intricate procedures of taxidermy as Bee sorted through alibis and red herrings.
I really admire the way that Lili Wilkinson is able to write fabulous stories in different genres. In A pocketful of eyes her prose is funny and her characters are quirky, especially Bee's mother who loves playing games on her playstation, and who has a boyfriend whose nickname is Celestial Badger. Although there are many clues spread throughout the story I still didn't manage to work out who dunnit! What a contrast this mystery is to the beautiful poignancy of the historical book, Angel fish, the story of the Children's Crusade. Both are so satisfying in the depth of their characterisation and setting.
This is a very funny story that will please both girls and boys who enjoy a mystery with a very slight dash of romance thrown in. It would also be an excellent introduction to the mystery genre and is certainly a must for the library shelves.
Pat Pledger

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