Beloved children's author Beatrix Potter gets reimagined as an amateur sleuth in this first in a new series, set in the English Lake District in 1905. The author uses events, places and people from Potter's real life to set the wheels of her story in motion.

In this gentle mystery, Albert incorporates the point of view of many of the village cats and dogs, as well as Beatrix's own animals, including a hedgehog, two rabbits and a lovelorn mouse. The large cast of human characters includes a "modern" woman who wears trousers and rides a bicycle.

She is at the center of the mystery, as everyone in the village of Sawrey wants to know who she is and why she inherited a cottage from a longtime resident who recently died under mysterious circumstances. The talkative animals, as well as several of the colorful villagers, help Beatrix solve these mysteries.

This slowly unfolding tale is lovingly told in a style that's in perfect accord with the bygone age it describes. (Oct., 304 pp., $22.95)
Reviewed by: 
Cindy Harrison