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Thale's Folly

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  769 ratings  ·  82 reviews
At the request of his father, New York City novelist Andrew Thale tackles an odd assignment--to check out an old family property in Massachusetts, neglected since Aunt Harriet Thale's death years ago. But far from being deserted, Thale's Folly, as Andrew discovers, is fully inhabited--by a quartet of charming squatters, former "guests" of kindhearted Harriet. There is eleg ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published February 29th 2000 by Ballantine Books (first published 1999)
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Carolyn Hill
I re-read this book because I remember loving it, and I still do. It's a short, enchanting read that will buoy your spirits. Andrew Oliver Thale, the main character, is a young New York writer who, due to a harrowing accident, is depressed and blocked and unable to resume his successful career as a mystery novelist. For an income he is writing the company newsletter for Meredith Machines, where his father is a VP. Obviously Andrew is not at home in the corporate world. One weekend his father sen ...more
This book was a quick read that lightened my heart. It's not earth shattering, or educational -- but it is entertaining. All the threads are woven together in a most interesting way in this story.

Andrew Thale has been sent out to his Great Aunt Harriet's property to assess the land and house for his emotionally distant father. What he finds there at first confuses him and then enthralls him. There are mysteries woven throughout the story that keep you turning pages, but they don't keep you up n
Lindsay (Santafefan)
It was a delight to find a book by Dorothy Gilman that I hadn't read. I picked it up early this morning and was so delighted with the world I found that I didn't put it down until it was finished. Gilman creates characters I care about. She builds suspense and drama. She includes touches of deep wisdom. And she does all of this while reminding me that even in our busy modern world, kindness trumps all and has it's own magic.

Unfortunately Gilman died in 2012, of Alzhiemers. I will miss her.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I really enjoyed this light and lovely cosy. A mild puzzle without a murder, it's more about finding many kinds of buried treasure--particularly within ourselves.

Andrew Thale, an unhappy young man with writer's block, is sent by his withdrawn businessman father on a wild goose chase to examine Thale's Folly, a rambling old house left by an excentric old aunt. There he finds a community of squatters--or so he thinks.

There are strong resonances with "A Nun in the Closet"--the rambling old house, t
Lana Kamennof-sine
A feel good story filled with brilliant characterizations of unique, eccentric, honest folks.
Typical Gilman fashion, well crafted & humourous.
In the 1970's Dorothy Gilman wanted to escape her life in New York so she moved to a small fishing village near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, my hometown. She hoped to find much peace and quiet there but forgot that villagers want to visit, chat, ask questions, bring food, etc and that upset her somewhat. It led to a non-fiction book called "A New Kind of Country" in 1978 which I read and enjoyed but certainly a lot of the villagers didn't.

Since then, I keep a lookout for her books for a light, somet
S.E. Burr
It'd been a long time since I'd read a Dorothy Gilman novel for the first time. I read most of them as a preteen and a young teenager, but not this one. I know she's kind of an odd author for a kid to be into, especially the Mrs. Polifax series, but I loved her stuff, especially Caravan.

This book was a good, quick read. It reminded me a lot of some of her other books, especially A Nun in the Closet. It seems to me that Dorothy Gilman frequently incorporates the same elements in her books--gypsie
After suffering a nervous break down following a terrifying plane crash, Andrew Thale is sent to Thale's Folly by his father to investigate the possibility of a money making real estate venture. Thale's Folly, a 25 acre plus farmhouse, was owned by Andrew's deceased Aunt Harriet. Thought to be deserted for the last five years, Andrew finds squatters, old friends of his aunt, still living in the house. He comes to realize quite quickly that each of the inhabitants is a quirky, unique, amazing ind ...more
I loved and cherished every moment of this book. James McDonough narrated it and it was such a joy listening to him. He is like an old friend as he narrated the Mitford series by Jan Karon.

Dorothy Gilman wrote the Mrs. Pollifax series which I also loved and adored. What a gift she has for transporting me to another place and time, to help me experience the story as if I were surrounded by it...I cannot wait to read more of her books, so I do not remain depressed since this book ended too quickl
It starts out with a similar premise to "A Nun in the Closet" - an outsider to the area going to check on an abandoned property. Only this one isn't abaondoned. It used to belong to a great aunt who was considered rather eccentric. She apparently "collected" misfits, four of them are living in the house still, despite no electricity and no running water. There's a hidden treasure, lots of interesting past histories and a good ending with some surprises about people's pasts.
It's not deep. It's predictable in spots. Compared to Ms. Gilman's other books, the mystery aspect leaves very much to be desired.

However, Thale's Folly is a feel-good book which I will read again. I enjoyed the characters. I enjoyed the happy ending. When I'm looking for a pick-me-up, this is a book I'll likely end up reading.
Sheryl Tribble
As others have mentioned, this one has a lot in common with The Nun in the Closet; ranks low on the mystery and suspense bar, high on the quirky characters, keen old house, and spirituality bars. However, I get more of an elitist vibe from this one than I did from Nun.
Light, whimsical, magical. Moves quickly with no real surprises, but charmingly innocent and decent. Just a plain fun story to absorb while the weather is blustery and cold. Especially enjoyed the herbal tea insights and the kindness and respect the characters expressed to each other.
Set in a small rural community in Massachusetts, this is more about self discovery than a mystery. There are a couple of mysteries to be solved, but the story is really about 25 year old Andrew Oliver Thale's rediscovery of himself and pulling himself out of the funk he has been in for the past few years.

The story started off a bit poorly for me, but gained my interest more and more as it progressed as Andrew visited his deceased aunt's place to assess it for his father who he is mostly estrange
Aug 14, 2011 Margaret added it
Shelves: 2006
This was a not-your-run-of-the-mill cozy mystery - I really enjoyed the setting and eccentric characters. A fun read that went by quickly, I think because it was a little different, not following the usual formula.
A unique and enjoyable cast of characters "squatting" in an abandoned cottage. By the same author as Mrs. Pollifax. Not so much intrigue and danger, but has more depth, if you are looking for that...
I expected little from this thin mystery and was so pleasantly surprised! It is a gentle mystery with an unconventional but lovable cast. I will be looking for more from this author!
This book got me so interested in herbs that I started attending a local herbal society monthly meeting!
It was a kind of strange whacky storyline, but kept me engrossed until the end.
I enjoyed it. I like D. Gilman and find her books fun and a bit whimsical.
This was kind of a neat story - a nice, easy read. Great for the cottage!
quick, light, all ends tied up - a little unrealistic but who cares?
Victoria Meyer
This is one of the singularly worst books I've ever read. The characters were cutesy stereotypes with the main character being the only semi-realistic one of the bunch, though he was still unlikable and stereotypical. The lines of dialogue just made me roll my eyes. Classifying this as a mystery is laughable, there's not really any mystery about it. It seems that Gilman really wants to write about how the exceedingly wealthy and creatively talented main character (who has had a convenient mental ...more
Lynn Demsky
I really enjoyed this book! Forgot how many of Dorothy Gilman’s books (especially her Mrs. Pollifax stories) that I always enjoyed --- this one had a remarkable sense of humor, great characters (all unique in their own way) and a very strange adventure for a young gentleman who desperately needed a change of pace and welcome to the real world!
Mary Ann
This was such a delightful read, a feel good message and made me think about the value of slowing down our lives and enjoying the ride; valuing individuals and the world around us. Surprises right up till the end!
Ugh. My dad's next door neighbor passed this one along to me and I was too polite to decline. This book is not remotely my style, but it seemed perfect to bring on vacation and leave behind somewhere. The story was formula and set on the East Coast with all of the appropriate stereotypes. This is definitely one of those books that makes you feel that story you wrote as a sappy teenager could probably get published if you made it 200 pages long.

If you like simple, predictable, and something that
I can always count on Dorothy Gilman for interesting characters, an entertaining story, and a well-written tale.
I chose this book because Gilman's Mrs. Polifax books are fun. This one was ok. Not overly engaging but entertaining.
Barbara Bristow
A Dorothy Gilman I didn't know! Hurrah!
I thought I had read everything Dorothy Gilman had written, but I found this short novel in a used bookstore in Billings, MT. A quick afternoon read.
This is one of my favorite books.
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Dorothy Gilman started writing when she was 9. At 11, she competed against 10 to 16-year-olds in a story contest and won first place. Dorothy worked as an art teacher and telephone operator before becoming an author. She wrote children’s stories for more than ten years under the name Dorothy Gilman Butters and then began writing adult novels about Mrs. Pollifax–a retired grandmother who becomes a ...more
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The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax  (Mrs. Pollifax #1) The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax Mrs. Pollifax on Safari (Mrs. Pollifax, #5) A Palm for Mrs Pollifax (Mrs Pollifax, #4)

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