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Tightrope Walker [Hardcover]

Dorothy Gilman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

May 1979
"A superb book."
THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE
When quiet, shy Amelia Jones reads a desperate message that has fallen out of a barrel organ in the antique shop she just bought, she can't forget the words, "They're going to kill me soon..." Armed only with the woman's first name and the note written years before, Amelia begins a journey into the past, a search that takes her from the protective cocoon she's wrapped herself in to a precarious world where nothing is the way it seems, where fear is second nature, and dark secrets just might uncover murder--her own....
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (May 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038514959X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385149594
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,183,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "They're going to kill me soon..." 19 July 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A note found in a old hurdy-gurdy (barrel organ) leads a young woman on a search for answers about its author and finds more than she bargained for. Another excellent tale of self-development with a backdrop of small town life and painted in sharp colors of good & evil. Just enough suspense to keep it interesting. If you liked 'Uncertain Voyage', you'll like this one, too.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great story.... 21 Aug 2000
By Karen Bierman Hirsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dorothy Gilman has done it again. She is most well known for her Mrs. Pollifax series which I have never read but her stand alone mysteries are excellent. The Tightrope Walker is a wonderful novel - the characters are well drawn and the plot really pulls you in.
This is the story of an introverted young woman, Amelia Jones, who finds a terrifying and mysterious note about a possible murder in a hurdy gurdy (those stand up music boxes that you usually see a monkey with a hat attached to...). This note intrigues her enough to try to find out who wrote it as well as the well being of the writer.
This leads Amelia on a journey through time as well as place. Through this search Amelia meets many interesting people - from a stage actor in New York to a handwriting analyst in her home town of Trafton - Amelia sees it all and learns to love in the process. Tightrope Walker is also a story within a story as Amelia constantly refers back to her favorite childhood book, "The Maze in the Heart of the Castle" which I would love to read (much as dlch3@juno.com would).
Will Amelia find out who the mysterious author of the note is and what ever became of her? You will have to read this wonderful book to find out and if you are lucky - you will discover a great writer along the way.
If you like Tightrope Walker - you should also Read Gilman's "Thale's Folly" and "The Clairvoyant Countess" - they all show the same wonderful traits - fully drawn and intriguing characters who you want to get to know better and an interesting and well written plot that you wish would never end.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Discovery! 6 May 2002
By Butterfly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In a story that seems right out of Dorothy Gilman's imagination, I found this story in a musty suitcase in my parents' attic at the age of 12. It was in a book of Readers' Digest Abridged books for 1979. Also included were 2 very excellent stories and one pretty good one (excellent: Hungry as the Sea, Flesh and Spirit; pretty good: The Passing Bells). I loved the story from the moment I read the opening words. This is an anomaly for me. Usually it takes me time to get into the rhythm and flow of just about any book I read (the only other notable exception is Like Water for Chocolate, which is positively delicious). This book grabbed me from the instant I started reading it and I couldn't put it down, literally, till the surprise ending.
I especially love the characterization of Amelia. Here is this shy, rather mousy girl who doesn't seem like much of anything. Then suddenly she finds herself drawn into a mystery after finding a note from a woman who is sure she will be murdered soon. Quite the opposite of her portrayal at the beginning of the book, Amelia soon proves to readers and to herself that she is quite extraordinary. We realize she is resourceful, intuitive, and intelligent. In fact it is only from this investigation of a murder plot that Amelia really grows up from the stunted emotional state she has been living in since her mother's suicide. Plus reading the book in the true unabridged form is wonderful. I always felt that reading abridged books is a bit like eating dehydrated foods. You're made to think that you've lost nothing but the taste really suffers.
So I'd recommend this book to anyone, mystery aficianado or not. It's gripping, intelligent, and actually funny. Now I'm sixteen and though I've outgrown a lot of other things..., I still love this book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tasty Little Bonbon of a Mystery Book 24 Jan 2002
By curlygrl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is tasty little mystery story. It lasts for a short 223 pages and yet it manages to pack in a surprising amount of character development and action between its covers.
The heroine, Amelia Jones, is an endearing young woman taking her first real steps out into the world. Amelia impulsively purchases the Ebbtide Shop, a musty antique store stocked with junk and marvelous finds. She decides to put aside one item, a hurdy-gurdy (or hand organ box), as a furnishing for her upstairs apartment. When the hurdy-gurdy mysteriously stops playing music, Amelia opens the box and discovers a desperate note written on faded paper. The message begins with "They are going to kill me soon..." and ends with "...my name is Hannah." Amelia believes that the note is likely genuine. When questions about Hannah's fate begin to consume her, Amelia ventures further out into the world on a quest to find out the truth. Along the way, she meets many interesting people and becomes involved in a variety of unusual circumstances. The plot is a charming mix of mysterious happenings and coming-of-age realizations that make the reader vitally interested in Amelia's story and how it intertwines with Hannah's.
Though this book is shorter than I usually read, I highly recommend it. I think that it is particularly ideal for anyone wishing to read poolside or during their lunchbreak. The interesting storyline and clean writing style make it easy to pick up again after taking a nap or experiencing one of life's other interruptions.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 30 July 2001
By Sophia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Although "The Tightrope Walker" succeeds very well as a straight mystery, the message it conveys is far beyond that. It tells the story of Amelia Jones, an introverted, somewhat sad young woman, who discovers an unsolved murder, and embarks upon a quest to discover what really happened.
As Amelia searches for the truth, she meets some very interesting characters, and finds out some very poignant truths about herself. A wonderful story. I only wish that Ms. Gilman would write "In the Land of the Golden Warriors" to go along with "The Maze in the Heart of the Castle."
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favorites. 18 Dec 2003
By dchristine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love this book so much I bought a first editon copy. It is the quintessential quirky mystery with lots of fun characters and an enjoyable mystery plot. I read it about once a year. Even if you don't normally pick up a novel this short, give it a try, you'll enjoy it!
My second favorite of D. Gilman's is the first Mrs. Pollifax novel, I think it's the Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax.
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