When Mattie and Stan arrive to clear out an old Boston townhouse that Mattie has just inherited, they have no idea of the mysteries that they will discover hidden up on the fifth floor. The ballroom has been sealed since a tragedy that happened many years ago, but now its secrets are coming out.
The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic is a novella (around 15,000 words) that uses its brief length to good effect. There’s no padding here, just a memorable mystery that’s well-told with engaging characters. The short length means there’s little time to develop the characters in great detail, but Kathleen Valentine uses some subtle and quick gestures to fill in more detail with a few words than some authors manage with whole paragraphs.
Perhaps the mystery, when it’s eventually wrapped up, is a little disappointing, in the sense that I felt it was fairly clear from the start. One further surprise could have really elevated The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic significantly, and some of the dialogue is a little stilted. Still, this is a very strong mystery that should keep most readers hooked for its brief length.
Star rating for The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic: 3½ stars.
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