Allen & Unwin Australia
Pub Date:February 2016
Caleb Krisp’s author bio from the publisher’s website should give you a pretty clear indication of the type of story to expect in this new series:
Caleb Krisp was raised by militant librarians who fed him a constant diet of nineteenth century literature and room temperature porridge. He graduated from the University of Sufferance with a degree in Whimsy and set out to make his mark in the world as a writer. Years of toil and failure followed, until, following a brief stint working in a locked box, Caleb moved to an abandoned cottage deep in the woods and devoted himself to writing about the adventures of a twelve-year-old lady’s maid of no importance. Caleb has a strong dislike of pastry chefs and certain domesticated rabbits. His only communication with the outside world is via morse code or kettle drum. He trusts no one.
Ivy Pocket is possibly the most maddening character you will ever encounter. She also creates mayhem wherever she appears. Though but a lowly maid of not very superior intellect, Ivy suffers from an insufferably inflated opinion of her own abilities.
As you lurch from one disaster to another in Ivy’s debut appearance, you begin to realise that there must be some kind of saving grace about anyone so completely and utterly inept, insensitive and impervious.
The story starts with Ivy being abandoned by her mistress in Paris – because of her overwhelming inadequacies as a maid.
Undeterred Ivy sets out to find her way back to England and lo! she is employed by an aging duchess to deliver a mysterious and valuable diamond to a young artistrocratic girl.
What follows is a comedy of errors but with an underlying sinister and spooky thread apparent to all but Ivy. Creepy little cowled creatures, a sneaky woman posing as a writer and also posing as a friend, a cold but efficient governess, a kindly solicitor, a completely bonkers upper class family and a rather unpleasant ghost all impact on Ivy’s mission.
To call Ivy a heroine seems slightly misguided but oddly enough despite all her irritating and often stupid habits and plans, she does emerge – indeed, survives – triumphantly.
Stay tuned for the continuing saga of Miss Ivy Pocket with the second instalment due out in May 2016.
An entertaining read which will appeal to those who enjoy the Lemony Snicket type of macabre but hilarious story.
Read more about the books here.