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21 July 2015

Teaser Tuesday # 20 (& A Ramble) - Thoreau at Devil's Perch by B.B. Oak

The Tease & The Book

# 1 in the Henry David Thoreau Mystery series

The Meme

The Ramble
Last time I mentioned that I was veering again thanks to the conspiracy Kensington Books & NetGalley once again offering up a book that looked too good to pass up ... that once again isn't the first in its series. SO I grabbed the first couple of books in order to read them first and, as per usual with Kensington, I'm glad that I did.

I was in elementary school still when I first read and fell for Henry David Thoreau and his friends/colleagues like Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Ellery Channing. My mom was taking college courses at the time and I loved going with her on my days off from school (or skipping mine altogether so I could go) and -- aside from her Faulkner course -- ate it all up. I would do the readings and, often, my own 8-9 year old attempts at the homework. When I saw that the book that I was being offered was part of a Henry David Thoreau mystery series? Of course I had to say yes!

Granted, I was a little hesitant because I've read books before that have totally messed up (in my mind, anyway) favorite fictional and/or non-fictional characters from days gone by. So far this has not been the case with this series. Yes, it has his name as the center of it all but he appears more in a supporting role to a set of cousins -- Adam and Julia. 

Thoreau at Devil's Perch takes place when Henry is 29 years old and at Walden Pond -- not too far from where Adam, a doctor, and Julia, an artist, are taking care of their ailing grandfather. Murders and mysteries crop up, of course, but what I loved most about the book was how true it seemed to the time. The racism, sexism, and classism of the time were all there. As were social norms (and abnorms). The language felt much like I was reading one of the journals of Thoreau or Emerson. The chapters alternate between being written "by" Adam in his journal or Julia in her notebook and each has its own way of telling things -- spellings and grammar and the like included. At one point someone teaches their grandfather a card game called "poca" (poker) and Henry tells them about different beliefs and stories from the "Hindoo" (Hindu) people. 

I started the book on my way into work the night of the Sunday the 19th and finished it before leaving for work tonight (Tuesday the 21st). It's a quick read which I appreciate since now I have one more to go before getting to my NetGalley freebie ...


  1. Wait. What? Wow! That so totally has the feel of Thoreau, but most certainly isn't something he'd have written. Excellent teaser!

  2. Hi Karen,

    I loved your teaser lines and your exuberant review sold me on the book totally. I am so pleased that you decided to go right back to the start of the series, so I am following suit and adding this one to my 'Want To Read' list.

    After reading your review and the lovely detailed premise, I can almost relate to the characters without even opening the cover or turning the first page ... the sure sign of a winner!

    Thanks for sharing :)