Richard Peck

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Margery Fisher

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It is hardly surprising to find kidnapping a favourite theme for writers who want to keep up with the times. In Through a brief darkness Richard Peck has allied this fashionable subject with an equally fashionable boy-girl situation. In the course of a lonely life Karen Beatty has come to realise that the work that surrounds her with luxury but keeps her father away is distinctly shady and dangerous. By the time she is sixteen she has achieved a certain wry philosophy though, surprisingly, not enough common sense to look twice at the way she is persuaded to take a flight from New York to London at short notice. In effect, she is kidnapped…. In fact, Karen is remarkably slow to realise anything, and this gives the author a pretext for the entrance of the hero…. The glimpses of Eton are as oddly off-key as the escape to a supposedly empty Devonshire mansion…. Undeniably topical, forcefully narrated, the story has a slick and artificial air that should not go unnoticed by perceptive young readers.

Margery Fisher, "Fashion in Adventure," in her Growing Point, Vol. 14, No. 9, April, 1976, pp. 2844-48.∗

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Bruce Clements


Kirkus Reviews