Anthony Policastro's Reviews > Down the Rabbit Hole

Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams
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Mar 23, 2011

it was amazing
Read from March 23 to 30, 2011

In Peter Abrahams’s novel, Down The Rabbit Hole, you will be pleasantly surprised by the way the author skillfully builds suspense in this American cozy. Growing up in what appears to be a typical middle-class environment, Ingrid Levin-Hill is thirteen years old, lives at 99 Maple Lane, in Echo Falls, Connecticut, attends Ferrand Middle School, and is on track to attend an Ivy League college, like Princeton, presumably, if she can keep up her grades in math – Algebra 2. She wears braces on her teeth, visits Dr. Bickerman, her orthodontist, and now wears an “appliance” or retainer in her mouth when she goes to bed. Although, there are times when she forgets to wear the appliance. Her father is a financial adviser for the Ferrand Group – he is forever reading the Wall Street Journal at the kitchen table while eating breakfast – and her mother is a real estate agent. Her brother Ty is a freshman at high school and is a jock, playing defensive back on the varsity football team. She has several girlfriends – Stacey Rubino, and Mia McGreevy, whom she meets every weekday on the school bus, and a budding friendship with Joey Strade, the son of Gilbert L. Strade, the chief of police.

In this American cozy, Echo Falls mystery, Ingrid, an aficionado of Sherlock Holmes – on her night table beside her bed is a copy of Sir Canon Doyle’s book: The Complete Sherlock Holmes - finds herself somewhat intrigued and compelled to solve the murder of Katherine Kovacs, also known around town as “Cracked-Up Katie.” She had met Katherine moments before her death, having been invited into her house to sit while she called for a taxicab for her young friend. When Ingrid inadvertently leaves behind her red Pumas with red cleats at Katherine’s house and then discovers that Cracked-Up Katie had been murdered, she realizes that she must go back to the house and retrieve her red Pumas. Slipping through the basement window, Ingrid, metaphorically, falls “down the rabbit hole.”

Throughout the narrative, you will enjoy the literary and film allusion to Alice in Wonderland, Dial M for Murder, The Hounds of the Baskervilles, Casablanca, The Producers, and several others. You will find the conflict between Ingrid and Chief Strade to be more than a little interesting, especially, after he begins to suspect that she knows more than what she is telling or is somehow involved in the murder of Katherine Kovacs. The history of the Prescotts – especially, Philip Prescott, and his affair with Katherine, and his sudden disappearance, running off to Alaska under dubious circumstances – and Katherine’s relationship to David Vardack and Vincent Dun will have you pondering possible scenarios. Ingrid’s audition for the play Alice in Wonderland is rather amusing. Her crisp and concise dialogue with Joey and her online communications with her girlfriends, Stacey and Mia, using text abbreviations, symbols, and phrases, instead of complete sentences, thoughtfully reflect how text communications has altered the way students, children, and young adults communicate with one another in this age of cyberspace, cybercafes, cybercitizens, and will have you debating the pros and cons of text messaging.

Nevertheless, you will be pleased with the resolution of the narrative, the build up of suspense, and intensity of the action, as Ingrid comes to solve the mystery. I highly recommend this book to all readers – young and adult readers alike. I look forward to reading other stories from this best-selling author – Peter Abrahams – including A PERFECT CRIME, THE TUTOR, THE FAN, and LIGHTS OUT, for which he received an Edgar Award nomination.
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03/24/2011 page 50
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