Candice Conner checking in with a review of The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels by Beth Lincoln, which released on Feb 07.
My review in one word:
Extremely impressive; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear
This book had me at the Author Note. Combine etymology, a twisty whodunnit with secret passages, attempted murder, a very large Family with a fascinating dictionary fixation, a very gothicy House, an absolutely delightful main character and you have the Swifts. It’s Lemony Snicket meets the Addams Family, crossbows and house fires in all!
Location: Kids: Middle Grade / Mysteries & Suspense
About The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels
Instant New York Times Bestseller!
“Knives Out feel by way of Lemony Snicket…This archly told, never muddled debut whodunit reveals a roster of distinct characters, a labyrinthine setting and plot, and a mystery that is as clever as its heroine.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The suspenseful denouement is positively writhing with twists.” —Booklist, starred review
On the day they are born, every Swift child is brought before the sacred Family Dictionary. They are given a name, and a definition. A definition it is assumed they will grow up to match.
Meet Shenanigan Swift: Little sister. Risk-taker. Mischief-maker.
Shenanigan is getting ready for the big Swift Family Reunion and plotting her next great scheme: hunting for Grand-Uncle Vile’s long-lost treasure. She’s excited to finally meet her arriving relatives—until one of them gives Arch-Aunt Schadenfreude a deadly shove down the stairs.
So what if everyone thinks she’ll never be more than a troublemaker, just because of her name? Shenanigan knows she can become whatever she wants, even a detective. And she’s determined to follow the twisty clues and catch the killer.
Deliciously suspenseful and delightfully clever, The Swifts is a remarkable debut that is both brilliantly contemporary and instantly classic. A celebration of words and individuality, it’s packed with games, wordplay, and lots and lots of mischief as Shenanigan sets out to save her family and define herself in a world where definitions are so important.
Beth Lincoln was raised in a former Victorian railway station in the North of England. Her childhood fears included porcelain dolls, the Durham panther, and wardrobes that looked at her funny. She grew neither tall nor wise, and never learned to play an instrument—but she did write stories, a bad habit that has persisted to this day. When she isn’t writing, Beth is woodcarving, or making a mess of her flat, or talking the nearest ear off about unexplained occurrences. Her favorite things include ghosts, crisps, and weird old words like bumbershoot and zounderkite.
The Swifts is Beth’s debut novel. It grew out of her love of etymology, the gleeful gothic, and classic murder mysteries. She lives in Newcastle upon Tyne with her partner and hopefully, by the time you are reading this, a dog.
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