Review Blog

May 14 2020

The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle

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Illus. by Kim Geyer. Faber & Faber. 2020. ISBN: 9780571346851. 288pp
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. What a beautifully written mystery for young readers, who will delight in the sights and smells of Paris as Penelope Magnificent tries to find Perrine, nicknamed Pear, the au pair that her parents had sent away. Pear had promised to take her away from her awful parents but her letters had stopped six months ago and Nell is determined to find her. When her parents take her to Paris, she befriends a young bellboy, Xav, at her posh hotel and with a group of friends explores the Paris catacombs and tries to uncover what has happened to Pear.
Readers are very fortunate - they have the joy of following not just one mystery but two in this adventurous romp through Paris. Not only does Nell have trouble finding Pear, but all the bakeries in Paris are suffering from a strange spore called the Thing which makes their bread and cakes go mouldy. How is this happening and why are the Pain-tastique bakeries not suffering from the same trouble?
Eagle's characters are well developed and believable. Nell is such a determined girl and the characters of the children and adults she meets are beautifully created. And what horrors her parents are - readers will shudder at their uncaring ways and really want the beloved Pear to be found.
Readers who enjoy action and adventure will enjoy the thrills of the chase as Nell's group works out what is happening. There are lots of heart-stopping moments, especially when Nell is crawling around in the dark in the Paris catacombs and when she is captured and held prisoner. A believable happy ending will also satisfy readers and the black and white illustrations by Kim Geyer bring the Paris of bakeries, fashion and underground homes to life.
Those who enjoyed this may like to read Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell. Themes include betrayal, friendship, greed and mapping.
Pat Pledger

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