I first encountered author Linda Frank when I read her third book in the Annie Tillery series The Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys. Linda Frank assured me in an interview that while the books were indeed a series, each one was a stand alone work with Annie and her boyfriend Ty as the central characters. I rather like the book, so I am not prepared to take the plot discussion any further. I will leave that for readers to discover by themselves. But I will make some observations, Linda Frank knows her stuff. She is a retired science teacher at both High School and College level. One popular class was ‘forensics’.
The Madonna Ghost is a great way to introduce Young Adult readers to the often convoluted world of science. It is easy to confuse a fictional TV show such as CSI with reality. Linda Frank does use an element of science to tell the story, but much prefers good old common sense.
Girl With Pencil, Drawing was the second in the series. In some ways it is also my favorite. Possibly it is because of the subject matter, stolen and forged art work. This is an area that I have spent countless hours researching. The book is fiction, but in true Linda Frank fashion, there is a huge amount of factual content. This is learning without realizing you are learning! What jumped out at me while reading Girl With Pencil, Drawing was the close attention paid to detail. No art forger with his or her salt forges a well known work, Trying to sell a copy of the Mona Lisa, would likely not get very far in the art world. Forgers tend to go for lesser known artists. A good forger does not copy, he creates a new as yet undiscovered work by an artist. The master forger will even go so far as to weave a fictitious provenance for the work.
Linda Frank touches on all of these subjects and much more. Although billed as a YA (Young Adult) book I think it has much broader appeal.
This is third book that Linda Maria Frank has published in her Annie Tillery series. People love to put books in genres and the publisher has deemed that Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys is Juvenile Fiction. I personally would have labeled it YA (Young Adult), but that is of no matter. It is the story that matters, not the filing cabinet it is put in.
I rather like the style that the author uses, she does not talk down to her young readers, rather she treats them as peers on a quest. I had the opportunity to talk to Linda before reading her latest book. It is amazing how much you can learn about a book before you read it. “CSI meets Nancy Drew” was a comment that I rather liked. Indeed Annie Tillery is much more modern than Nancy Drew. The writing style is also much more modern.
Growing up I was a fan of Enid Blyton and the Famous Five, even the Secret Seven. Those books are now dated. The youth of today are looking for stories that they can relate to. iPhones and computers are the key.
Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys is a great read, what I particularly like is that Linda Maria Frank manages to weave a good deal of factual material into the action and adventure. One could call it ‘sneaky learning’ :) This actually should come as no surprise as the author was a school and college teacher before turning her attention to writing.
There is also a very interesting twist in the end of the book. It is one that I had not foreseen, yet makes perfect sense.
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After all the hard work of writing publishing and promoting the Annie Tillery Mystery series, it is pure joy to get a review that gets what I have been trying so hard for. Thanks Mindy.