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Review: Horton Halfpott or The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor or The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset by Tom Angleberger

in a sentence or so: Smugwick Manor is a kooky place with quirky people and mysterious happenings. events get an extra helping of crazy when M'Lady Luggertuck decides to not have her corset laced quite so tight, and The Loosening begins.

Horton Halfpott is a kitchen boy at Smugwick Manor. his job, sad as it is, is to wash dishes all day. ALL DAY. every day. and if he finishes washing dishes before the day is over, he is off to polish the extensive fork collection. or the silver platters. you get the idea.  Horton has a few friends at the Manor, including his best friend Bump, a stable boy who knows how great Horton is and what a bummer his life can be in that kitchen all the time.

on the day that M'Lady Luggertuck decides to have her corset a little looser, a chain of events take off that Horton could never have imagined. for instance, M'Lady decides to have a ball. in addition to creating even more work for the staff (and, by extension, Horton), this involves delivering the invitations personally. which then leads to Horton meeting a bright, beautiful, and totally unattainable young lady. but on top of the ball and some serious crushing, some very precious valuables go missing at the Manor. throw in a detective with an appetite greater than his detective skills, a very creepy and nasty Luther Luggertuck, some ship-less pirates, and secret room in the attic full of mystery, surprises, and hidden disguises, and things at Luggertuck Manor are running right off the rails.

a middle-grade spoof on Victorian mysteries, this book has a little bit of everything while maintaining a hilarious and quirky balance. it reminded me of a Roald Dahl book meets Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone. i laughed out loud, a LOT, and was totally head over heels for the playfulness combined with a great story and lovable characters. well, some are lovable. more than some are detestable, which is part of the fun. plus the book speaks to you - literally. i loved the connection the author created between the reader and the characters by giving us snippets and asides throughout the book. plus, the illustrations are silly and creative and from the hand of the author himself!

if you're looking for a middle-grade read that's mysterious, silly, thoughtful, fun, and has just a splash of romance, you should totally give this a try. you'll have a blast!

fave quote: "Well, Reader? You know a little of Miss Sylvan-Smythe by now. Do you think she is likely to listen to this transparent flattery? Of course not. She jerked her hand away." (pg 94)

fix er up: i really really REALLY hope there are further adventures the world that Angleberger created! i could read about Horton forever.

title: Horton Halfpott or The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor or The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset
author: Tom Angleberger
publisher: Amulet Press (Abrams)
drop date: May 2011
genre: Mystery, Humor
buy the book on Amazon

[ftc notice: i received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher for a non-biased review. i did not receive compensation for this book or the review.]

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. That looks cute! Sounds like something my brother would love.

  2. I added a link to your book review at my Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon (http://www.semicolonblog.com ). You are welcome to stop by and add a review link any Saturday.


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