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The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage: 02/28/21

The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage

The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage by Derek Landy is part of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary stories. The Doctor and Martha are in the middle of nothing — a black void of nothingness but the TARDIS reports that they have landed somewhere. Martha opens the door to an English country.

Turns out Martha and the Doctor have found themselves in the middle of her favorite childhood mystery. With Martha's knowledge, she finds herself in charge of the situation.

While the mystery used as the backdrop is completely fictional, it does remind me of Peppermints in the Parlor by Barbara Brooks Wallace. That's a testament to the established tropes of children's mysteries, especially those from the last century.

Here, though, those tropes are the Doctor's first clue to the true nature of where ever they are. By looking away from the illusion and by playing off script, he and Martha are finally able to figure out where they are and how to escape.

As I read fifty or more mysteries a year, I found The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage a fun mashup of genres. It's still a Doctor Who plot at its heart, but it's a genre crossover. It was entertaining to see them out of their element.

The next book in the series is Nothing O'Clock by Neil Gaiman.

Four stars

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