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Montmorency : thief, liar, gentleman?
Eleanor Updale
Teen Fiction UPDALE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Updale employs a distinctive, wry voice in this debut novel to launch a series about a convict-turned-gentleman in late 19th-century England. After being paraded around lecture halls by the doctor who saved his life after a near-fatal accident at his capture, the cunning Montmorency develops a taste for the high life and a strategy for attaining it (involving a map of underground sewers, viewed at same lecture halls). The humor arises from the juxtaposition of the fellow's circumstances versus his aspirations. For instance, Montmorency hatches his plan as the prison's chaplain utters the blessing at the conclusion of services: "He would become his own accomplice. His old self would become the servant of his new self. One would live in squalor, the other in style." Updale credibly establishes the prisoner as intelligent and as a quick study in the art of mimicry (taught to him by his cell mate). These two skills enable him to dart between his dual worlds. The author also lays bare the widening dichotomy between the two personae ("Montmorency might have hopes of becoming a gentleman, but Scarper [the alter ego living in squalor] really wasn't a nice man") even as she draws a parallel between the treachery in both the sewers and in the upper echelons of London society. Though there's nary a child in sight, the novel does serve as a fine introduction to the thriller genre, and this first installment (whose ending leaves ample opportunity for more adventures) will likely whet readers' appetites for more. Ages 10-14. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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main characters Montmorency
Male
Criminal mastermind; suffered serious injuries while trying to flee the police; healed by Dr. Farcett; served time for robbery; recently released from prison; uses the sewer system to burglarize apartments; by day he is Mr. Montmorency who lives in an upscale hotel and who frequents the opera; at night he is his alter-ego Scarper who keeps a room in a dirty boarding house.
Burglar

Robert Farcett
Male
Healed Montmorency from grievous wounds.
Doctor



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