Friday, September 22, 2006

Gilda Joyce Psychic Investigator

GILDA!! I love this gal!

She’s a plucky tween and a self-styled Psychic Investigator, inspired by the book “The Master Psychic’s Handbook: A Guide to Psychic Principles and Methods”, and its author, Balthazar Frobenius, a professional psychic who worked for police detectives, helping them solve particularly supernatural crimes.

Gilda is on summer vacation before ninth grade and somehow works it so she can stay at her estranged cousin's house in , with his deeply introverted cousin Juliet. Her relatives live in a and Juliet spills it that she, and the house, are haunted by the ghost of her aunt who died mysteriously.

The story moves along customarily, but I love it because Allison’s representation of the supernatural world remains mysterious. There are no gorey manifestations of witches and oogy-boogeys to compete with at the end, but only human mysteries and strange surreal circumstances. And Gilda has so much personality.

One of my favorite scenes is when she dresses up in a disguise so she can visit her accountant cousin at work and trick him into coughing up some evidence of his sister’s death:
“Gilda’s wig was obviously synthetic: originally designed as a bob with flirty bangs, the hairstyle now featured brassy, disheveled clumps. Along with the wig, Gilda wore a bright shade of magenta lipstick, beige foundation makeup, a cheap set of metallic gold fingernails, a strand of fake pearls, her leopard-print jacket, an oversize purse, and a pair of stiletto pumps with pointy toes. The shoes hurt her feet, but Gilda was willing to endure the torture of her high heels because the pain forced her to walk with a pigeon-toed gait, and that was part of the disguise. Gilda had read somewhere that being recognized had as much to do with a familiar walk as it did with one’s face, body, and clothing. Before leaving the house, she had practiced slouching forward and limping slightly with each step… ‘I’m supposed to be a rich, eccentric woman who has some connections with organized crime’”
She actually tries to get away with this, and its hilarious! Gilda has so much personality she carries the story. And there are some unseen twists that impressed me, as well. Very much recommended.

And the website is pretty rockin'.
Penguin says ages 10+ (I would say more like 12 +, but what do I know about 10 year olds?)
Gilda Joyce Psychic Investigator
Jennifer Allison
Penguin Books

(posted by Mandy)

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails