This book had me at croque-monsieur and chocolat chaud! Adorned with geographical references to the beautiful French capital as well as French words and phrases this book truly transports you to the bustling streets of its setting.
The Pear Affair is an intriguing mystery set in over and underground Paris during the 1960s. The reader follows the journey of Nell Magnificent, neglected daughter of wealthy power couple Melinda and Gerald, through busy streets and dark, damp tunnels in the search for her missing au pair Perrine Chaumet – Pear. Pear used to write to Nell at her boarding school every week but all of a sudden the letters stopped and with no explanation. The mystery surrounding Perrine’s disappearance grips the reader as does Nell’s intent desire to find her.
Soon after arriving in Paris, Nell befriends a bellboy named Xavier in the snazzy hotel where her busy mother and father are staying. She spies him disappearing down a man-hole cover and the underground adventures begin! Nell creates a support network of streetwise Parisian pals who adventure with her through the underground network of tunnels to boulangeries, fashion houses, tabacs and jostling neighbourhoods all determined to solve the mysteries they have found themselves caught up in.
The Pear Affair is an absolute delight to read and will certainly appeal to the middle grade audience as well as older readers. Judith Eagle has written a captivating story and Kim Geyer’s illustrations throughout add that extra special je ne sais quoi!