Jill Paton Walsh

Jill Paton Walsh is familiar to me as a children’s author. But at the library last week, I ran across a mystery book written by her and was happily surprised. I love mysteries, and I really like Jill Paton Walsh’s writing. The book is called A Piece of Justice, featuring a lovely amateur sleuth named Imogen Quy (rhymes with why). Quy is the school nurse at St. Agatha’s College in Cambridge. She’s a very kind person who enjoys people, cares about the students she works with, is interested in quilting, and has a very inquisitive mind. The quietly engaging plot centers around the writing of a biography of a mathematics professor who had taught at Cambridge. Someone doesn’t want the biography to be finished and published, and three biographers have already died while trying to complete the book. Quy’s young lodger is the next one to take on the task, and Quy senses danger immediately. The story gives you a peek at the academic world, but focuses mostly on relationships and interactions. It’s a fun read, and I’m glad she has a few others in the series to add to my list.

I’ve read two other books by Walsh and really enjoyed both of them. They are both targeted at children and young adults, but I recommend them for adults as well. The Green Book is a wonderful “idea” book for children. In this story, everyone must leave Earth due to a catastrophic ecological disaster. Pattie and her family, and many other people, are leaving on a space ship for another planet. Each person is allowed to bring one book with them. It’s fun to see what books were chosen, and the story complication centers around Pattie’s choice. I love to read this book to my students and then assign a writing project about having to make that kind of choice. What book would you choose?

The other book is called A Parcel of Patterns, and is about a village in England during the Bubonic Plague of 1665. The book begins with: “A parcel of patterns brought the plague to Eyam,” and is a well-written, fascinating account of the village’s experience with and response to the Black Plague. It is very factual, well-researched, and was written quite a few years before the publication of Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks, which is also about the plague in Eyam.

So I think I can safely generalize and say that anything written by Jill Paton Walsh would make an enjoyable read.

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10 thoughts on “Jill Paton Walsh

  1. jenclair

    I’m adding A Piece of Justice to my list! Love mysteries, love Cambridge, love quilting…seems made to order. thanks~

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  2. Robin

    Jenclair, I thought of you with the mystery, the quilting…didn’t know about your love of Cambridge. But it does sound made to order, and is just a pleasant read, no matter what.

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  3. Gentle Reader

    I have Year of Wonders on my shelf, so maybe I’ll get A Parcel of Patterns to complement it. A Piece of Justice also sounds interesting…

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  4. Robin

    Gentle Reader, A Piece of Justice would be a very short and pleasant read after a particularly stressful week, or after a very intense other read.

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  5. Bellezza

    I liked Brooks’ Year Of Wonders very much, but I was sadly disappointed with her book March. It is the ‘sequel’ to Little Women, sort of, telling the father’s point of view. To me, it can’t compare to the power in Little Women. Probably, she wasn’t trying to compare, but the whole thing rubbed me the wrong way.

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  6. Robin

    Bellezza, my Mom gave me a copy of March, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to read it. I’ve heard some real negatives about it.

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  7. dovegreyknitter

    Lovely to find your blog Robin and to see you are a knitter too, that little grandchild looks very snug!
    I should really find this JPW being a quilter too. Have you caught up with Apricots at Midnight by Adele Geras? Another perfect quilting story.

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  8. Robin

    Dovegreyknitter, I’d never heard of Apricots at Midnight, but looked it up and it looks lovely! I’m going to have to get it. Thanks for the visit and the tip.

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  9. booklogged

    Robin, three wonderful sounding books. I have to mention that I loved March. Have you read Year of Wonders? Do I need to read it AND A Parcel of Patterns?

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  10. Robin

    Booklogged, I’ll have to give March a chance and see how I like it. As for Year of Wonders or A Parcel of Patterns…I loved Year of Wonders and couldn’t put it down. Although it was many years ago that I read Parcel, I remember being very impressed with it. That doesn’t answer your question, I know…but I’m glad I read both of them.

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