Cover image for Thale's Folly
Title:
Thale's Folly
Author:
Gilman, Dorothy, 1923-2012.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
199 pages ; 22 cm
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.3 8.0 66999.
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780449003640

9780345432964
Format :
Book

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Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Boston Free Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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Clearfield Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Grand Island Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Kenmore Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

At the request of his father, New York City novelist Andrew Thale tackles an odd assignment--to check out an old family property in Massachusetts, neglected since Aunt Harriet Thale's death years ago. But far from being deserted, Thale's Folly, as Andrew discovers, is fully inhabited--by a quartet of charming squatters, former "guests" of kindhearted Harriet. There is elegant Miss L'Hommedieu, Gussie the witch, Leo the bibliophile, and beautiful Tarragon, who is unlike any girl Andrew has ever met in Manhattan. Andrew is entranced by these unworldly creatures and their simple life. Yet all is not well in Thale's Folly. A thief breaks into the farmhouse, an old friend of the "family" disappears, and Andrew and Tarragon are drawn into mysteries they cannot fathom. . . .


Summary

As myriad readers will gladly attest, there is nothing more entertaining than a Dorothy Gilman novel, for the author of the beloved Mrs. Pollifax novels brings to her work a distinctive mix of romance and mystery that inspired the New York Times Book Review to say of a recent Gilman jewel, "Should delight you whether you're looking for smiles or thrills." That promise is honored--with dividends--in Thale's Folly.

At the request of his father, New York City novelist Andrew Thale tackles an odd assignment--to check out an old family property in western Massachusetts, neglected since Aunt Harriet Thale's death years ago.

Much odder still is what he finds.

Far from being deserted, Thale's Folly is fully inhabited--by a quartet of charming squatters, former "guests" of kindhearted Aunt Harriet. Elegant Miss L'Hommedieu, Gussie the witch, Leo the bibliophile, and beautiful nineteen-year-old Tarragon, who is unlike any girl Andrew has ever met in Manhattan.

Andrew is entranced by these unworldly creatures and their simple life. Yet all is not well in Thale's Folly. A thief breaks into the farmhouse, and an old friend of the "family" disappears. While the peace that appears to have been Aunt Harriet's only legacy to her companions is destroyed, Andrew and Tarragon are drawn into mysteries they cannot fathom. But, for the first time, Andrew begins to understand that love and loyalty are life's greatest treasures.

Once again, Dorothy Gilman enchants us. Thale's Folly is just as tempting as a delicious caper from the unsinkable Mrs. Pollifax.


Author Notes

Dorothy Gilman was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey on June 25, 1923. She studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Under her married name, Dorothy Gilman Butters, she began publishing children's books in the late 1940s including Enchanted Caravan and The Bells of Freedom. In 1966, she published The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, which became the first novel in the Mrs. Pollifax Mystery series. The series concluded in 2000 with Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled. The series was the basis of two movies: the 1971 feature film Mrs. Pollifax - Spy starring Rosalind Russell and the 1999 television movie The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax starring Angela Lansbury. Her other works include The Clairvoyant Countess, Incident at Badamya and Kaleidoscope. A Nun in the Closet won a Catholic Book Award. She died due to complications of Alzheimer's disease on February 2, 2012 at the age of 88.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Dorothy Gilman was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey on June 25, 1923. She studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Under her married name, Dorothy Gilman Butters, she began publishing children's books in the late 1940s including Enchanted Caravan and The Bells of Freedom. In 1966, she published The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, which became the first novel in the Mrs. Pollifax Mystery series. The series concluded in 2000 with Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled. The series was the basis of two movies: the 1971 feature film Mrs. Pollifax - Spy starring Rosalind Russell and the 1999 television movie The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax starring Angela Lansbury. Her other works include The Clairvoyant Countess, Incident at Badamya and Kaleidoscope. A Nun in the Closet won a Catholic Book Award. She died due to complications of Alzheimer's disease on February 2, 2012 at the age of 88.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 6

Booklist Review

When Andrew Thale visits "Thale's Folly," his deceased Aunt Harriet's homestead in Massachuset's Berkshires, he is living a life of quiet desperation. A stalled novelist, the 26-year-old is surveying the supposedly vacant Folly for his father, Horace, a hard-driving businessman. In fact, four of Harriet's friends live in the house. A car accident strands Andrew there, but he stays on, lulled by the summer, beguiled by the inhabitants, and intrigued by mysteries on the property. In contrast to Gilman's Mrs. Polifax mysteries, this delightful book is a novel with a mystery as well as information on herbal lore. At first, it seems Gilman is rounding up the usual literary suspects, but her genial and well-paced writing, vivid landscapes, and quirky characters are greater than the sum of the cliches. This highly recommended book would appeal to those who like Winifred Elze's Changeling Garden (1995), Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles series, or anyone wanting a suspenseful romp with little violence. --John Rowen


Publisher's Weekly Review

Sowing her pages with quotations from Renaissance herbals, Gilman (author of the Mrs. Pollifax mysteries) cultivates a quaint (and not overly sophisticated) novel of romantic suspense. When eccentric Harriet Thales died, her farmhouse in Western Massachusetts‘called Thale's Folly‘was inherited by her corporate shark nephew, who now resents the bundle of money he's been paying in taxes. He sends his son, Andrew, whose failed writing career has relegated him to a back office hack job at his father's company, to check out the old place. Andrew finds that the purportedly empty house is home to an enchanting group of squatters: a six-foot spinster who begins a new short story every day; a sharp-eyed practitioner of Wiccan magic; a Marxist Luddite; and a 19-year old waif named Tarragon. The waif, of course, fascinates Andrew the most. Snoopers and would-be murderers add an element of suspense as the fate of Thale's Folly is determined and Aunt Harriet's peculiar legacy is revealed. Gilman relies too heavily on her characters' idiosyncrasies to do the work of characterization for her, but her fans will probably enjoy being gently propelled on a pleasant narrative track. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

The creator of the Mrs. Pollifax mysteries introduces a new protagonist‘a struggling young novelist whose father asks him to investigate the family property left when Aunt Harriet died. There he finds a bunch of squatters and gets drawn into a mystery. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

When Andrew Thale visits "Thale's Folly," his deceased Aunt Harriet's homestead in Massachuset's Berkshires, he is living a life of quiet desperation. A stalled novelist, the 26-year-old is surveying the supposedly vacant Folly for his father, Horace, a hard-driving businessman. In fact, four of Harriet's friends live in the house. A car accident strands Andrew there, but he stays on, lulled by the summer, beguiled by the inhabitants, and intrigued by mysteries on the property. In contrast to Gilman's Mrs. Polifax mysteries, this delightful book is a novel with a mystery as well as information on herbal lore. At first, it seems Gilman is rounding up the usual literary suspects, but her genial and well-paced writing, vivid landscapes, and quirky characters are greater than the sum of the cliches. This highly recommended book would appeal to those who like Winifred Elze's Changeling Garden (1995), Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles series, or anyone wanting a suspenseful romp with little violence. --John Rowen


Publisher's Weekly Review

Sowing her pages with quotations from Renaissance herbals, Gilman (author of the Mrs. Pollifax mysteries) cultivates a quaint (and not overly sophisticated) novel of romantic suspense. When eccentric Harriet Thales died, her farmhouse in Western Massachusetts‘called Thale's Folly‘was inherited by her corporate shark nephew, who now resents the bundle of money he's been paying in taxes. He sends his son, Andrew, whose failed writing career has relegated him to a back office hack job at his father's company, to check out the old place. Andrew finds that the purportedly empty house is home to an enchanting group of squatters: a six-foot spinster who begins a new short story every day; a sharp-eyed practitioner of Wiccan magic; a Marxist Luddite; and a 19-year old waif named Tarragon. The waif, of course, fascinates Andrew the most. Snoopers and would-be murderers add an element of suspense as the fate of Thale's Folly is determined and Aunt Harriet's peculiar legacy is revealed. Gilman relies too heavily on her characters' idiosyncrasies to do the work of characterization for her, but her fans will probably enjoy being gently propelled on a pleasant narrative track. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

The creator of the Mrs. Pollifax mysteries introduces a new protagonist‘a struggling young novelist whose father asks him to investigate the family property left when Aunt Harriet died. There he finds a bunch of squatters and gets drawn into a mystery. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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