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front cover of Mollie PeerReviews for Mollie Peer, or the Underground Adventure of the Moosepath League by Van Reid

From Kirkus Reviews - A wonderful successor to Reid's Cordelia Underwood (1998), and the second in a trilogy-in-progress that sparkles with neo-Dickensian comedy, romance, and melodrama. The setting is the central Maine seaport city of Portland and environs, in late 1896a scant year after Reid's Pickwickian hero, avuncular Tobias Walton and fellow members (the endearingly naive comrades Eagleton, Ephram, and Thump) of the self- styled Moosepath League stumbled into a wildly linked series of improbable adventures. Well, Tobias is still more or less courting handsome, matronly Phileda McCannon, and the Moosepathians are still finding themselves involved in complicated intrigues: this time, the hiding-away of an endangered four-year-old orphan boy called Bird, who is pursued by the minions of waterfront boss Adam Tweed, and protected by the eponymous Mollie, a stouthearted (and quite fetching) newspaper columnist, Portland baseball hero Wyckford O'Hearn (``the Hibernian Titan''), and courageous old Mrs. Barter, among others. A parallel story brings Tobias into contact with Native American Civil War veteran John Neptune (descended "from a long line of chiefs and shamans''), the ostensibly doomed victim (Henry Echo) of a family curse, a riddle based on American Indian lore, and a climactic gun battle on the Sheepscot River near Fort Edgecomb, where the answers to several riddles lie buried. It's an irresistible hodgepodge, whose other "characters'' include the (pseudonymous) Theosophist Madame Blavatsky, a tomcat named Governor Danforth, a raccoon addressed as Eugene, and the amusingly querulous members of neighboring Brunswick's "Quibbling Society.'' Reid ties all such dangling ends pleasingly together, in a cheerfully overstuffed narrative that bulges with interpolated tales, astonishing reunions and coincidences, and sage authorial interjections. Must we settle for only a trilogy? The canny echoes of Oliver Twist suggest Reid may be working his way through the Dickens canon (Cordelia Underwood was clearly his Pickwick Papers). If so, Nicholas Nickleby is next, and there are eleven Dickenses after that. Stay tuned. - Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly - Reid's rolicking followup to the sprawling historical comedy Cordelia Underwood returns to 1890s Portland, Maine, for the further exploits of Tobias Walton and his merry, bumbling do-gooders, the Moosepathians. Mollie Peer, a suffragette reporter, senses a good story when she impulsively follows a frightened street urchin called Bird to Portland's harbor. When he is claimed by menacing Mr. Pembleton, she realizes that Bird's life is in danger, and she enlists the help of baseball player Wyckford O'Hearn. Soon they are joined by the Moosepath League's Ephram, Eagleton and Thump, gallant and well-meaning (if less than keen) gentlemen who never shirk their duty, especially when women and children are concerned. Since their leader, Walton, and his sidekick, Sundry Moss, are away on amorous pursuits, the remaining three Moosepathians must rescue Bird on their own. On the run from the child's pursuers, they encounter the mysterious Indian, John Neptune; the infamous Quibbling Society, a nefarious gang of smugglers that includes two Shakespearean actors; and a man convinced he will die at midnight. Plots, subplots, bizarre Americana, vivid period prose and vintage Down East oddities proliferate from there. Though all the major players here appeared in Cordelia Underwood, readers need not have read that book to enjoy this one. Reid's zigzag plot and the boatloads of comic minor characters recall Oliver Twist, though Reid's aims are certainly lighter than his classic model. He extracts humor from nearly every detail, writing with a gleeful vigor, evoking - nay, escaping to - a time when men trembled at the sight of a lovely woman, baseball and newspapers had just begun to flourish, and adventures seemed to await all comers at every boardinghouse, tavern, railway station and wharf. Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal - It is October 8, 1896. Mollie Peer, social columnist for the Eastern Argus, is walking with her housemate in Portland, ME, when they encounter a waif named Bird. Before the conversation progresses much beyond introductions, the boy is whisked away by the nefarious Mr. Pembleton and all of Mollie's reporter instincts come into play. Thus, the stage is set, and Mollie is off in pursuit of the child and his abductor. Along the way, she meets several characters introduced in Cordelia Underwood: Or the Marvelous Beginnings of the Moosepath League (Viking, 1998). They and others assist her in her efforts to rescue Bird from Mr. Pembleton and his evil associates. Reid weaves a tale of mystery and intrigue while engaging readers with his captivating cast of characters, his many plots and subplots, and his vivid descriptions of Maine and life along the coast of 19th-century New England. Readers familiar with Charles Dickens will find comparisons irresistible, but for today's young adults, Reid might prove the more accessible author. - Pamela B. Rearden, Centreville Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA. Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal - Let us return to yesteryear, to the fall of 1896 in Portland, ME. The Moosepathians, first introduced in Cordelia Underwood (LJ 6/1/98), are back in their second strange and hilarious adventure, intertwined with more legendary stories of Maine and new eccentric characters such as social columnist Mollie Peer and Wyckford O'Hearn (the Hiberian Titan), a semipro baseball player. Through a series of circumstances, Tobias Walton (chairman of the Moosepathians), Sundry Moss (Dogsbody to Tobias), Matthew Ephram (time tracker), Christopher Eagleton (weather maven), and Joseph Thump (tide expert) are given the job of taking care of Bird, the mysterious young child trapped in the clutches of Eustace Pemberton. They become involved in the rescue of Bird from Eustace and his band of smugglers and evildoers. There is also a send-up of the infamous Madame Blavatsky and her mate, Henry Olcott, in which the "boys" get caught up in a seance conducted by a Baroness Blinsky and Major Halberd Alcott. Delightful! Read Cordelia Underwood first and then enjoy this second volume in a promised trilogy. Highly recommended. - Dawn L. Anderson, North Richland Hills P.L., TX Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist - In this second outing of the Moosepath League, introduced so winningly in Cordelia Underwood, or the Marvelous Beginnings of the Moosepath League (1998), we are once again in Portland, Maine, and environs in 1896, following the adventures of Tobias Walton, his aide-de-camp, Sundry Moss, and his fellow Moosepathians Ephram, Eagleton, and Thrump. On their way to visit lovely Phileda McCannon (the light of Walton's life) and attend the annual Harvest Ball, Walton and Moss are delayed when they meet John Neptune, a famous Indian veteran of the Civil War. Neptune, on his way to help an old friend fearful of a family curse, implores the two Moosepathians to come with him, which, of course, they do, and which leads, of course, to further humorously complicated events. Meanwhile, back in Portland, Ephram, Eagleton, and Thrump become involved with a mysterious child, a fearless and ambitious newspaper reporter, a red-headed baseball player, a spiritualist, and some dastardly villains. Reid is a born storyteller, with a solid grounding in the history of Maine. - Nancy Pearl.

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