Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Boarded-Up House and The Sapphire Signet by Augusta Seaman

In The Boarded-Up House, Joyce and Cynthia are neighbors, separated only by an old boarded-up house.  The girls frequently play on the property.  When a neighbor's cat gets inside the basement, the girls follow it and explore the house.  They keep their exploration a secret and try to piece together the story of who the former occupants were and why they left.

The girls discover that the dining room table is set with dishes, and the chairs are awry.  A dinner party must have broken up abruptly, and the girls find partially packed trunks in an upstairs room.  Joyce and Cynthia speculate about what might have happened, and finally, they come up with an idea of how they might find out.

This book was published in 1915 and is set in 1905.

The story is quite simple but plausible and interesting to read.

In The Sapphire Signet, twins Bess and Jess have a sister, Margaret, who is stuck at home in her invalid chair due to a bad back.  Bess and Jess bring home a new girl from school, Corinne, who quickly becomes friends with Margaret.

Corinne loves antiques, so the twins take her up to the attic, where she discovers a journal hidden under the false bottom of a trunk.  The journal is written in code.  Margaret suggests that the girls form a secret society that is dedicated to uncovering the mystery.  Corinne cracks the code, and the girls spend hours deciphering the meaning of the journal.  After some research, the girls follow clues found in their own neighborhood as they search for the sapphire signet.

This book is fascinating because it seems impossible that the girls could track down the sapphire signet or the Bermuda family to which it belonged.  They only have the diary, which was found in two parts in different locations.  The original house no longer exists.  Nobody knows what happened to the girl.  I read quickly, wondering how this would all get pieced together.

The backstory has to do with the plot to kill George Washington.  So this story is kind of historical fiction.  I enjoyed this book.

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