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Horton Halfpott; or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M’Lady Luggertuck’s Corset

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,064 ratings  ·  308 reviews

Tom Angleberger's latest, loopiest middle-grade novel begins when M'Lady Luggertuck loosens her corset (it's never been loosened before!), thereby setting off a chain of events in which all the strict rules of Smugwick Manor are abandoned. When, as a result of "the Loosening," the precious family heirloom, the Luggertuck Lump (quite literally a lump), goes missing, the Lug

Hardcover, 216 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Amulet Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  2,064 ratings  ·  308 reviews

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Start your review of Horton Halfpott; or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M’Lady Luggertuck’s Corset
Erik This Kid Reviews Books
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Horton was a poor , miserable servant in the neat and strict Smugwick Manor. When the grouchy Lady of the Manor (M’Lady Luggertuck) loosens up her corset , everything goes crazy! Apparently her corset is what made M’Lady so grouchy and strict. After she loosened her corset, all the rules of the Manor are broken but what is even worse, the Luggertuck Lump (a priceless family heirloom) is stolen! The Luggertuck family goes even crazier trying to find who took it. Horton realizes that the detective ...more
Sue Anderson
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Horton Halfpott is a playful poke at English Victorian aristocracy, written by Tom Angleberger with clever satire from an intimate, judgmental narrator. When we meet Horton, he is a lowly kitchen boy tirelessly scrubbing dishes day in and out for a penny per week. His employers, Lady Luggertuck and her horrid son, Luther, live a ridiculously high life while the servants are kept on gruel and bread crusts (one crust per day, mind you). Horton meets and falls in love with wealthy Miss Celia Sylvan ...more
ღ Carol jinx~☆~☔
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A positively delightful historical mystery farce. The trouble begins when M'Lady Luggertuck instructs her lady's maid, Crotty, to loosen her corset a bit. Everything starts to loosen all around and things start disappearing including the famous "lump" that has been in the family for ages. Horton, the hero, will have to figure it all out.
Written in a clever manner in a style with a bit of Dickens and a bit of Snickett. I loved this book and think kids would love it.
Waiting for a sequel.
Vicky Reads MG
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don’t often use this phrase as a descriptor but I can’t think of a single more appropriate word for it, sooo at the risk of sounding like an owl, this book was a real hoot! 🦉 The wordy title alone ought to tip you off about what sort of book this is: Horton Halfpott and the Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor OR The Loosening of M’Lady Luggertuck’s Corset.

This middle-grade novella clocking in at just over 200 pages is A Series of Unfortunate Events meets Harry Potter liberally peppered with Dic

Jenny (knasentjej)
It reminded me a lot of the book about Ivy Pocket that I read last year. But this one was better and Horton wasn't such an irritating and stupid character as Ivy was.

I liked Bump, Blight and Blemish more then Horton, though.
Small Review
That was very cute. Full review to come.
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
“You see, the lives of servants are not lived by clocks, but by the ringing of their masters' bells.”

Horton Halfpott: or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset, P. 17

Tom Angleberger seems to have entered into that select group of authors elevated in common thought as being particularly good at writing for boy readers. At their best, his books are so much more than just that, but never does he fail to produce writing that is remarkably suited
Brian Williams
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I picked up a ARC of this book and got it signed while at ALAN this year. I really wanted to get something signed by the writer since I really enjoyed his book The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. Been reading Horton Halfpott by Tom Angleberger as my before bed read every since ALAN; which meant it took me way longer than usual to finish the books because I hardly ever go to bed on time and spend most of my nights writing. But every time I picked up this book and read a chapter I really loved what ...more
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a perfect book for relunctant boy readers. It is funy, silly, and strange. There are shipless pirates bumbling detectives, disguises, and a stolen diamond known as The Lump. It would be a great starting novel for those who enjoy graphic novels because it is a descriptive but fast paced.
It sets up a household that is filled disgruntled workers and a spoiled noble family that is oblivious to anything other than their own needs. Horton is the kitchen boy with a good heart but bad things ke
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
It amazes me that Angleberger can write something equally as amusing, yet totally different, as Origami Yoda. Horton Halfpott asks you to get your Edwardian/Victorian/Mystery!/Edward Gorey geek on and enjoy some plot twists (mostly predictable, but enjoyable all the same) and great one-liners. The mystery isn't all that hard, and he foreshadows quite obviously several events in this book and likely sequels. His writing, though, shines just as it did in Origami Yoda, with an original voice, even ...more
Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It has been a long time since I've read such a lively, genuinely funny book. Please don't tell the author, but I think I may love this book even more than I love his Origami Yoda series! Horton is the kitchen boy who cannot break the rules but when he meets Celia, the wealthy young lady one manor over, all bets are off. In this rollicking tale, smelly stable boys best world renowned detectives, corsets are unloosened and much mud and mire is spattered about. A sweeter Series of Unfortunate Event ...more
Teresa Bunner
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I must confess I was prepared not to like this book after reading the first page. I am not very enamored with the trend started with lemony Snicket of snarky narrators who dumb everything down for the reader by explaining everything. This book seemed to follow that trend.

But while the narrator does at time explain things, the writing is smart and funny and lends itself to the reader being able to do some thinking for themselves. I love the character names! And, who doesn't love a story with a ha
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, juvenile, audio
Quite the off-kilter mystery story, all stemming from the loosening of a corset. Yes, really. With quirky names like Luggertuck, Smugwick, Halfpott, the Shipless pirates, the lump, Bump, Blight and Blemish and I could go on and on.

Trades of Dickens, gothic, farce and total silliness make for a delightful read.
I am a big fan of Angleberger's The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, so I bought this book without caring what it was about... It is not like Origami Yoda-- more like Lemony Snicket, Lois Lowry's Birthday Ball, or The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place-- pure farce and fun in a Victorian setting.
Liza Gilbert
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
There was just too much going on in this book, but none of it substantial enough to keep me going. There were some interesting characters and concepts, but everything felt cluttered, over exaggerated, and it felt like it was trying too hard.
Colby Sharp
May 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Reread with ears- 4-26-12

First Reading: 6/13/11
Seriously-this book was awesome. I loved Origami Yoda, but this book really shows the talent Angleberger's pen contains. Well done.
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Good source of robust vocabulary. All 3 of the characters are enjoying this, but it is hard to read aloud - M'Lady Lugertuck & Smugwick manor do not roll off the tongue...
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Cute children's mystery with lots of very fun characters!
Jim Hill
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very funny book with an excellent, intrusive narrator.
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
There was a whole lot going on in this book. I really couldn't get into it. I was really disappointed because, I really like his Origami Star Wars series. Just wasn't my cup of tea.
Logan Meador
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think that this book was just a little over my head on the imaginative side. When it didn't use too much imagination it was really good.
Feb 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: terrible
To be honest, I have no idea why anyone likes this book at all. I saw the cover and thought it looked interesting. Should have thought, never judge a book by its cover, but I didn't. That night, I sat in bed and read the first few chapters before saying, "this is the worst book I have literally ever read" and set it down. I decided to finish because I am not one to quit and had to force myself to stay awake as I stumbled aimlessly into the abyss of random words. The writing is bad, the story is ...more
Goshen PL Childrens
Hilarious! You know your in for a treat when you have two subtitles for the cover. I snickered a lot while reading the tongue in cheek names and situations. Horton is a hero worthy of any book especially in a world were there as been a loosening of M'Lady's corset.

We read it for book club and the kids are begging for all the side stories mentioned in the book. They were upset to be told that there isn't another book with all the stories mentioned. That was kind of fun to witness. (Maybe I have a
Anushka R.
Feb 09, 2018 rated it liked it
(3.5) This is a pretty good story line, and Tom Angleburger (is that how you spell it?) made the ship and the characters really adorable...but eh. He breaks the fourth wall in this book a lot, which I like, but he did a bit too much for my liking. He also made some emotions way to obvious for the reader. Also the whole backstory with Bump flys right over the plot, and is just tossed in there... but otherwise pretty good.
I'm pretty sure I bought this book because of the cover. The cover is cool, and it glows in the dark, which is just a bonus.

This book could lovingly be called a study in the absurd. The fact that it is so crazy makes it enjoyable. There is no way to guess what is going to happen next, because nothing follows any sort of logic. This book is an enjoyable read that I would recommend to anyone, even adults, because we all need a little absurdity every now and then.
Mh Weyler
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this quirky tale! So reminiscent of of Wodehouse (whom I’m sure the author took inspiration since he referenced one of Wodehouse’s main characters in the book). All turns out well in the end but not without mishap after mishap. Each chapter is but a page or two and so easy to read. Character description is key with all sorts of perfect words applied to each. Hoping there are more like this book.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
A silly mystery that tickles the funny bone, Horton Halfpott is a middle school mystery that many kids will like. Horton is a lowly kitchen servant in Smugwick Manor and the people he works for are horrible. He gets swept up in a mystery and has quite the adventure. There are lots of fun phrases and humor. I can see kids enjoying this story.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'll admit that I wasn't expecting this from Tom Angleberger. I've read his Origami Yoda series and a few others by him and I've never seen anything else from him like this. Extremely funny. It's probably my favorite Angleberger book. I'm not sure if children would love it as much as I did, but what a pleasure for me!
John Cheng
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read this to the girls as their bedtime story. A little too scary for my 7-year-old, but my 9-yo loved it.

Horton is the goody two-shoes whom, with the help of true friends, triumphs over the bad guy. There will be no surprises here. It is a fun read, however, and I personally enjoyed the reference to Hercule Poirot.

Ginny Kaczmarek
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Delightful! Fans of Dickens will love this wacky send-up of Victorian novels. Kids who don't care about Victorian novels (yet!) will enjoy the silliness and good-hearted heroes solving the mystery of the Lump even as they enjoy the Loosening.
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Tom Angleberger artist-turned-writer. He is a columnist for the Roanoke Times in Roanoke, Virginia, and began work on his first book while in middle school. Tom is married to author-illustrator Cece Bell. He lives in Christianburg, Virginia. ...more

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