‘Most of you will already have heard that Gus, our Head Taxidermist, died last night,’ said Akiko Kobayashi, the museum Director, her knuckles white on the wooden lectern.
Bee sat next to Toby in the back row of the auditorium where the museum held public lectures and forums. The other staff members were dotted around the room, sitting in groups of two or three. Some were crying. Bee felt as if she couldn’t blink. The only other part of her body that had any feeling was the hand Toby was holding. Gus was dead?
Bee has a summer job working in the taxidermy department of the museum – and she loves it. That is until her supervisor, Gus, is found dead in the Red Rotunda. Gus has apparently committed suicide, but Bee is not convinced. Something is not right and she is going to use her sleuthing skills – learnt from a lifetime of reading Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie novels – to figure it out.
Along the way she has the help of Toby, a handsome boy who was with her on the night Gus died, and who seems to be a font of knowledge when it comes to strange animal behaviours. As she tries to solve the mystery, Bee must also deal with her conflicting emotions about Toby, her slightly odd mother and her new boyfriend, and the fact that her best friend seems to have paired up with Bee’s boyfriend.
A Pocketful of Eyes is a funny, clever mystery book with a liberal does of romance and plenty of humour. Bee is intelligent and funny, but she also makes silly mistakes and has the self absorption typical of a teenager, and with which readers will relate. Wilkinson is a versatile author, and fans will love this dip into mystery writing .
A Pocketful of Eyes, by Lili Wilkinson
Allen & Unwin, 2011
This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.