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Pandora by Holly Hollander

Pandora by Holly Hollander by Gene Wolfe

If you've read Wolfe's work before, please note that this is an unusual one.  For one thing, it's a mystery novel.

Recounted by the title Holly Hollander, who's a teen-aged girl -- it even opens with a note about how she got it published.  She tells that her father was almost killed twice by an artillery shell, once during World War II, and once during the course of the book.  And she fills us in on her family ("my father" and "Elaine" -- even though Elaine is her mother), and on the Fair, where her mother had to arrange the special event.  She found an old chest, locked, marked "Pandora," and they would raffle it off and bring in a locksmith to open it up.

Though before they get to the fair, Holly discovers she has an uncle, and that he's locked up in an very expensive institution, and he's not expected to live long, whereupon she flits off to visit him.  And meets a strange man, Aladdin Blue, on the way.  Later, at the fair, Blue appears, talking about Pandora and the dangers of opening her box when it's time for the raffle, and the box is opened.  To explosive effect, killing two at the spot and wounding many.

And the rest of the book, Holly recounts her involving in the unraveling of who did it, and why.  She's not actually the detective, but she's deeply involved in the events.  Which include another murder, roses, a ramshackle old farm house, a Nazi dagger, and a false claim of responsibility.
Tags: fiction reviews: mundane, fiction reviews: mystery
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