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front cover of Daniel PlainwayReviews for Daniel Plainway, or the Holiday Haunting of the Moosepath League by Van Reid

From School Library Journal - It's 1896, and the members of the Moosepath League find their lives taking an adventurous turn when they accidentally meet up with lawyer Daniel Plain-way. He seeks help from the club in solving the disappearance of an orphaned boy known as "Bird." In the process, the Moosepathians become entangled in solving a mysterious rune attributed to Vikings, experience ghostly visitations, enjoy thrilling tales of Maine folklore, and provide entertaining episodes along the way. Although this is the conclusion to the story told in Cordelia Underwood (Viking, 1999), readers can easily pick up the story line through the sections entitled, "Daniel's Story." Reid deftly intertwines plots and subplots, providing a complex, yet involving story filled with comic scenes and engaging wordplay as well as serious moments. He picturesquely captures the snowy cold Maine winter, but is just as quick to describe the dangers of the weather, which plays a major role in the story. In sharp details, the author offers clearly defined portraits of the myriad characters, their manners, and customs. All of the figures become memorable individuals as they enter the story, distinctive in their personalities and mannerisms. An exciting and fun adventure.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA.Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews - Reid's expert appropriation of the benign world of Charles Dickens continues in this third volume of his richly entertaining saga (Cordelia Underwood, 1998; Mollie Peer, 1999). It's an agreeably overplotted farrago, set once again in Portland, Maine, and environs in 1896, and featuring the ineffably Pickwickian Tobias Walton, his stouthearted young comrade Sundry Moss, and their irresistibly ingenuous and gentlemanly fellow Moosepathians Ephram, Eagleton, and Thump. After some overstuffed early pages that creak and wheeze a bit making plot connections with the earlier books, Reid settles into the business of juxtaposing the odyssey of the heart undertaken by the eponymous Daniel, a lawyer who may know something about the orphaned boy Bird of Mollie Peer, with the Moosepathians' intricately interrelated separate ordeals and discoveries. These involve variously motivated searches for Viking artifacts, an elopement and an illegitimate birth, a ghostly visitation, a possibly sinister antiquarian society's quest for the lost city of Norumbega, located on the fabled northwest passage to Canada, a body found in the Portland harbor, the twice-told tale of The Rune and the Worm (a delicious amalgam of Native American and Norse mythologies), and the remarkable word boustrophedan. Also implicated, in cheerfully mystifying ways, are such memorable folk as expert woodsman Capital Gaines, the five elderly Pettengill sisters, secretive Ezra Burnbrake, and Tobias's rival for the love of matronly Phileda McCannon: Charleston Thistlecoat. If this engaging folderol doesn't charm your socks off, you've probably been reading too much Bret Easton Ellis and A.M. Homes. Reid really has mastered Dickens' techniques of cross-plotting and creating narrative echoes that function as both foreshadowing and revelation--not to mention comic characters so vivid and heartwarming you wish their crazily entangled stories would never end. And perhaps they won't, as an intriguing Epilogue and coy Author's Note slyly suggest. Long may the Moosepath League flourish. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP.

From Publishers Weekly - The rollicking adventures of Tobias Walton and the jovial Moosepath League continue in Reid's (Cordelia Underwood; Mollie Peer) engaging third novel set in 19th-century Maine. Reid ingeniously incorporates local color and history in a fast-moving tale that introduces the reader to dedicated attorney Daniel Plainway and the Dash-It-All Boys, three men who aspire to the camaraderie and renown of the Moosepath League. As the people of Portland prepare to celebrate the evolving rituals of Christmas, Walton and company become involved with Frederick and Isabelle Covington. The couple seek help from the League in searching for some mysterious runes, hoping they will prove that the Vikings preempted Columbus's discovery of the New World. At the same time, Plainway discovers that a few months earlier, Walton and the Moosepath League rescued a young boy who had been kidnapped by a group of hooligans (fans will recognize the characters from Mollie Peer). Recovered along with the boy was a portrait of a young woman, presumed to be his mother. Plainway believes the boy, now called Bird, may in fact be Bertram Linnett, the son of his goddaughter, Nell. After a hasty marriage to a handsome boy from an unscrupulous family, Nell died in childbirth, her husband was found drowned and one year later the boy was abducted, along with a portrait of Nell. Supporting characters include Capital Gaines, Pacifa Means and Ergo Define, otherwise known as "Therefore." In addition to having fun with wordplay, the author has a knack for injecting the right balance of humor and seriousness into a story detailing the sad dissolution of the Linnett family. The Covingtons' mission brings a sinister element into the plot when yet another private clique, the Broumnage Club (an actual secret society unearthed in Reid's research), attempts to foil their efforts with threats to their lives. On the way to the inevitable happy ending, Reid captures the old-fashioned charm of turn-of-the-century New England in a suspenseful narrative encompassing ghost stories, tall tales, delightfully eccentric characters and an adequate dose of romance. Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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