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AUNT DIMITY SLAYS THE DRAGON
by Nancy Atherton
Viking, February 2009
232 pages
$24.95
ISBN: 0670020508


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

"I want to stop concocting schemes and sneaking around and behaving like a demented twelve-year-old," vows Lori as the 14th Aunt Dimity novel begins. It's a worthwhile vow; during much of the last book, she'd been convinced that there was a real vampire loose in her little English village. But her good intentions are hard to keep when a string of suspiciously dangerous accidents occur at Finch's latest attraction, a Renaissance festival.

Calvin Malvern, back from a few years following the Renfaire circuit in America, has decided to bring that sort of boisterous (if historically inaccurate) fun to Finch. After initial worries, the townspeople get into the full spirit of the thing, including Lori's family.

Only one person isn't playing along the fair's bad-tempered, lovestruck handyman. Is jealousy enough reason to undermine the parapet where the king stands in greeting, slice the rope on the quintain at the royal joust, or add poison to the royal feast? Good intentions aside, Lori thinks so and she's determined to find the evidence, aided and sobered by Aunt Dimity's wise advice.

Aunt Dimity stories are known for their gentleness, and AUNT DIMITY SLAYS THE DRAGON is no exception. Light and undemanding, you know going in that nothing truly horrible will happen and nothing will be described in words that couldn't be said in front of Lori's little twin sons. But the series isn't toothless either. Atherton may draw her characters with primary colors, but they're also pleasing ones outlining a charming portrait.

Life at the Renaissance fair is a particularly vivid picture; Atherton obviously knows what she's talking about. If you're familiar with these fairs, you'll feel as if you're walking the winding lanes alongside Lori. If you've never gone to one, you'll leave this book knowing why people love them.

After a slightly offbeat digression (the last couple of books were not the strongest), the Aunt Dimity series is back to doing what it does best providing a sweet, soothing diversion into a world that may not exist, but certainly ought to.

Reviewed by Linnea Dodson, May 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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