It is a great many years since I read anything by Louisa M Alcott. I downloaded this book free from the marvelous manybooks.net. I had certainly no memory of Alcott's style, merely that I had enjoyed The "Little Women" books when I was younger. This I am sure was written for a much younger audience than me, though it is a comforting, cosy read and could certainly be enjoyed by anyone wanting to escape for a while to a different time and place. To begin with I found the style a little too sweet and twee, before settling into the cosy story of Rose and her cousins.
Rose is 13 when the story begins, and she is certainly a very different kind of girl to modern thirteen year old girls. Rose is still very much a child, she is all goodness and sweetness of course, an orphan thrust into a new world. Rose quickly finds she enjoys the company of her seven boy cousins, they and her adored Uncle Alec are the new focus of her young life. This is a charming, readable little book.
This is a rather entertaining spoof of an old fashioned country house mystery. There are a host of unlikely characters, not to mention a monkey called Percy, rooms suddenly plunged into darkness, a missing bracelet, and finally a dead body. A well written, quirky little novel, that is certainly unusual, Miles Franklin manages to have quite a nice little dig at social conventions of the time, class and snobbery. Her cast of characters include people of different races and social backgrounds and how they are percieved by one another and interact with each other is interesting in itself. I was amused by the outlandish names of some characters - including: Swithwulf George Cedd St. Erconwald Spillbeans (Lord Tattingwood), Zarla Osterly, Ydonea Zaltuffrie and Captain Stopworth. An amusing cosy read.