Once Upon a Dark November
by Carol Beach York. Novel. 98 pages. Grades 3-5.
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This book is currently out of print, but still widely available used and through libraries.
I like mysteries and I especially admire the work of Carol Beach York. Her stories are not difficult to read but they usually pack a wallop. I keep hoping they'll bring her Takers and Returners back into print, but so far it's just a hope. However, she keeps turning out good ones. Once Upon a Dark November starts with a peaceful scene: a woman putting down her reading, climbing the stairs and then stating cheerfully, "Auntie's coming!" She then releases a frightened child from the locked attic. We then switch scenes and times and come upon Katie, doing light housework after school for Mr. and Mrs. Herron. Truthfully, she has a crush on Mr. Herrron, her teacher. Life goes on until Mrs. Herron announces ominously that their cousin is coming. Then the mystery really takes off with murder and mayhem.