Heir of Mystery: The Second Unlikely Exploit

Overview

First and foremost, this is a book about death. Okay, so it doesn't start with an actual death like the Unlikely Exploit which precedes it . . . but you'll find a lot of it about. Life's like that, though, I'm afraid. Then again, if we didn't have death, this little planet would be a very overcrowded place. Not only that, most buildings would be old people's homes and entire continents would be taken up with retirement village after retirement ...
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Overview

First and foremost, this is a book about death. Okay, so it doesn't start with an actual death like the Unlikely Exploit which precedes it . . . but you'll find a lot of it about. Life's like that, though, I'm afraid. Then again, if we didn't have death, this little planet would be a very overcrowded place. Not only that, most buildings would be old people's homes and entire continents would be taken up with retirement village after retirement village, populated by some very old and wrinkled people indeed.

The second in the darkly hilarious new series that started with The Fall of Fergal

In this, the second Unlikely Exploit, Fergal McNally's brain-last seen in a pickling jar in the basement of the Sacred Heart Hospital-is stolen, and the remaining McNally children are mysteriously drawn to Fishbone Forest and the forgotten crumbling mansion which lies at its heart. Here they meet the terrifying teddy-bear-clutching Mr. Maggs who is planning to make sweeping changes to the world . . . which is all rather unlikely, isn't it?

Packed with humor and excitement, this is another surefire winner.

In their second adventure, the four remaining McNally children are drawn to the mysterious Fishbone Forest in search of their dead brother's stolen brain, only to discover the terrifying Mr. Maggs and his sinister plan to change the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the paper-over-board Heir of Mystery: The Second Unlikely Exploit by Philip Ardagh, illus. by David Roberts, the McNally siblings hunt down the stolen brain of their dearly departed brother, who took a tumble in The Fall of Fergal. They must fend off a teddy-bear-wielding mad genius la Dr. Frankenstein who has plans for Fergal's noggin. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Young Fergal McNally died in the First Unlikely Exploit. In this second, his preserved brain has been stolen and spirited away to Fishbone Forest and the laboratory of the terrifying Mr. Maggs. Although no one has been known to return once entering the Forest, Fergal's spunky siblings follow the trail and their instincts and enter the Forest on a dark and stormy night. The story has several twists and turns, along with significant backtracking to fill in readers who have not read the first book. There are several really unusual characters, but none more so that Mr. Maggs, the teddy bear clutching "scientist" who is trying to bring Cary Grant back to life. Other characters are more humorous than scary. The authorial asides a la Lemony Snickett, the winding trail, and the awkward way of bringing readers up to speed may deter some readers. Others will be drawn in by the humorous science fiction and Roberts' menacing black and white drawings. 2004, Henry Holt and Company, Ages 9 to 12.
—Peg Glisson
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Young Fergal McNally died in The Fall of Fergal (Holt, 2004), and in this sequel, his preserved brain has been stolen and it's up to his siblings to get it back. Unfortunately, this is no easy task as it's being held by the terrifying Mr. Maggs in a dilapidated mansion located in the heart of Fishbone Forest, from which no one has ever emerged alive. Ardagh's meandering narrative, loaded with deadpan humor and macabre details, and the many events and characters will make this entry hard to follow without having read the first book. Excellent black-and-white illustrations add to the book's creepiness.-Heather Ulesoo, New York Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The second of Ardagh's Unlikely Exploits series takes the poor but unusually gifted McNally sibs into dreaded Fishbone Forest to reclaim the pilfered brain of their recently deceased youngest member, Fergal. Though they encounter several new characters-notably Mr. Maggs, a menacing, not-exactly-human brain surgeon cradling a teddy bear and scheming to resurrect Cary Grant, make all numbers even, and similar horrors-and do accomplish their goal (sort of), the plot tends to be elbowed aside by backtracking expeditions, authorial asides, and seemingly inexplicable occurrences. The oppressively rain-soaked setting, and Roberts's vignettes of misshapen figures with madly staring eyes, give the tale a Lemony taste (as in Snicket)-but it reads more like a set-up for future episodes than a self-contained story. (Fiction. 9-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307245984
  • Publisher: Listening Library, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2006
  • Format: Cassette

Meet the Author

Over six and a half feet tall, with a bushy beard, Philip Ardagh is not only very big but also very hairy. When not writing silly books, Mr. Ardagh is quite serious and frowns a great deal. He lives in a seaside town somewhere in England with his wife, and their son, Fred.

Visit Philip Ardagh at his web site: philipardaghbooks.com
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