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The Valley of Secrets

By (author) Charmian Hussey
Illustrated by Christopher Crump
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Saint Piran Press, Cornwall, United Kingdom
Published: 16th Sep 2003
Dimensions: w 168mm h 210mm
Interest age: 9-adult
Reading age: 9+
ISBN-10: 0951852213
ISBN-13: 9780951852217
Barcode No: 9780951852217

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Kirkus US
Hussey stretches a short story's worth of ineptly developed plot over tedious rambles about the Cornish countryside, un-compelling mysteries revealed with agonizing slowness, prolonged flashbacks in the form of passages from an old diary, and whiny rants against faceless rain-forest despoilers. Informed that he's inherited a large country estate, Stephen, abandoned as a baby, arrives in Cornwall to find the gates unlocked, the house open-but not a soul to be found. With breaks to pore over an ancestor's wordy account of an early 20th-century trip up the Amazon, Stephen roams the grounds, discovering dozens of native and exotic plants. At length, he comes upon the estate's inhabitants: a very old Amazonian Indian named Murra-yari and a herd of "Bugwomps," limbless, caterpillar-like creatures with the eyes and personalities of primates. Money problems threaten an end to the ensuing idyll-but Murra-yari suddenly produces a pre-Columbian gold figurine to sell off, then dies, making way for Beth, an attractive replacement companion. Crump contributes small, atmospheric chapter-head scenes, which don't help to plug the holes in this leaky, agenda-driven tale. (lists of species, multimedia resources) (Fiction. 11-13) (Kirkus Reviews)