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Reviews for Mrs. Roberto, or the Widowy Worries of the Moosepath League by Van Reid

From Publisher's Weekly - Reid returns with the fourth rousing installment in his series featuring the bumbling but well-intentioned members of the Moosepath League of Portland, Maine, circa 1897. Comic, ruefully romantic and ever so tongue-in-cheek, this genteel and entertaining if sometimes meandering farce once again chronicles the league's lighter-than-air antics. Though Chairman Tobias Walton has faithfully promised his fiancee, Miss Phileda McCannon, that he will "enter no intrigues, nor court unusual company" while she's out of town, he and his faithful assistant, Sundry Moss, can't help addressing the mystery of depressed Hercules, a pig once the very soul of Fern Farm. Meanwhile, a trio of Tobias's fellow Moosepathians-Joseph Thump, Christopher Eagleton and Matthew Ephram-engage in an adventure of their own. When they attend While She Waits in Silence, a play with a very intriguing second act, they become convinced that Mrs. Roberto, a celebrated Ascensionist (she parachutes from a hot-air balloon "in her attractive suit of tights"), must be rescued from some unknown peril. Soon, Thump's humble look-alike, Thaddeus Q. Spark (proprietor of the Faithful Mermaid), and Mailon Ring, a mysterious street urchin, are involved in this comedy of errors, which is further complicated by Fuzz Hadley and his vile gang. Reid has carved a niche for himself with his Victorian spoofs, redolent of New England and full of derring-do and old-fashioned romance, and he is in top form with this latest series entry. Forecast: If Garrison Keillor were crossed with P.G. Wodehouse, the result might be something like Van Reid. His solid readership should grow with this sterling effort. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews - An exuberant superabundance of plot distinguishes this fourth installment of the popular author’s ongoing Moosepath Chronicles (Daniel Plainway, 2000, etc.). Once again, kindly bachelor Tobias Walton and his strapping "gentleman’s gentleman" Sundry Moss find themselves on the road in the general vicinity of Portland, Maine, and points thereabouts, reencountering old acquaintances (among them Cordelia Underwood, eponymous heroine of the initial Moosepath Chronicle), and pausing for fascinating intrigues at Fern Farm, where the enigma of a depressed pig named Hercules masks an even more unusual family scandal. Meanwhile, Moosepathian Joseph Thump, having learned that the celebrated "ascensionist" Dorothea Roberto is pursued by dastardly villains, travels with fellow clubmen Eagleton and Ephram from crime boss Fuzz Hadley’s Portland waterfront to a hobo "shantytown," thence toward the hamlet of Dresden Mills, where rural mailwoman Deborah Pilican (a.k.a. bestselling novelist Rudolpha Limington Harold, among other pseudonyms) lives out a real romantic fantasy, and where a conflagration in the nearby town of Iceboro brings most of Reid’s remarkably busy characters coincidentally together. In the series’ now-familiar manner, subplots keep springing surprises (there’s a doozy involving Thump’s mirror image, tavernkeeper Thaddeus Sharp, the latter’s plucky son Timothy, and Tim’s waiflike friend Mailon); charming absurdities multiply exponentially (don’t miss the episode in which a boisterous drunk throws a piano out a second-story window, or the explanation for Hercules’ seeming drunken state); and (Groucho-) Marxist near-non sequiturs ("I once knew a cow that had a very refined sense of humor,"etc.). Good prevails, lovers are united, the social fabric is deftly mended, and all ends well, with Mr. Walton prepared to head for Halifax, and further delightfully implausible Dickensian adventures. The most imaginative and outrageous in the series thus far. It would be a crime and a sin, and just plain un-neighborly, to miss it.

From Booklist - The Moosepath League in late-nineteenth-century Maine constitutes a trio of unlikely heroes, Christopher Eagleton, Joseph Thump, and Matthew Ephram; their primus inter pares, Tobias Walton; and his gentleman's gentleman, Sundry Moss. This latest in the series presents several interconnected set pieces that combine a touch of Jerome K. Jerome, Conan Doyle at his airiest, and a large helping of shaggy dog. A drunk Gillie Hicks tosses a piano out of the second floor of the Weary Sailor to begin the Moosepathians' adventures during a May week in 1897. While Sundry gets to the bottom of a prize pig's peculiar behavior, a few sets of lovers young and old begin or end their ancient dance. The language is heightened and innocent; the men are gentle and often foolish; the women wise, graceful, and wry. Mrs. Roberto of the title might seem a mere McGuffin except for her continual presence in the thoughts of the Moosepathians. The whole ends with the promise of weddings, pairings, and discoveries to come. Deliciously amiable summer reading.- GraceAnne DeCandido, Copyright © American Library Association.

From The Onion - A strong, sure punch of joy and ache.


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