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The Complete Bostock and Harris combines two delightful, suspenseful, and madly funny tales about two boys in eighteenth-century England, clever and mischievous Harris and sweet but not-so-bright Bostock, who in spite of their differences are the best of friends.
In “The Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris,” the wily pair put their classical education to the test when they adopt the Spartan custom of exposing infants to the wild, leaving Harris’s infant sister, Adelaide, to the elements. The boys imagine a wolf will come to nourish her, but their plan backfires.
It is springtime in “The Night of the Comet,” and in the days before Pigott’s comet will pass over their town, Harris’s and Bostock’s thoughts turn to love: Bostock swoons over Harris’s sister Mary; Harris longs for Captain Bostock’s telescope. The boys strike a deal: Bostock will make off with the telescope in exchange for Harris’s “expert” wooing advice. Unfortunately, that expertise is not quite what Bostock would have hoped.
About the Author
Leon Garfield (1921–1996) was born and raised in the seaside town of Brighton, England. His father owned a series of businesses, and the family’s fortunes fluctuated wildly. Garfield enrolled in art school, left to work in an office, and in 1940 was drafted into the army, serving in the medical corps. After the war, he returned to London and worked as a biochemical technician. In 1948 he married Vivian Alcock, an artist who would later become a successful writer of children’s books, and it was she who encouraged him to write his first novel, Jack Holborn, which was published in 1964. In all, Garfield would write some fifty books, including a continuation of Charles Dickens’s Mystery of Edwin Drood and retellings of biblical and Shakespearian stories. Among his best-known books are Devil-in-the-Fog (1966, winner of The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize), Smith (1967, published in The New York Review Children’s Collection), The God Beneath the Sea (1970, winner of the Carnegie Medal), and John Diamond (1980, winner of the Whitbread Award).
“It’s a fine thing that Leon Garfield’s rip-roaring and funny tales should be brought back into circulation for a new generation.” —Joan Aiken
“As an extravagant admirer for more than twenty-five years, it is hard for me to believe that Leon Garfield needs any introduction . . . He has given us books written clearly, vividly, truthfully and with great regard for language. But it is their outlaw quality that will both draw the young reader into the tale and, just possibly, impel him or her to new understandings of self, others, and the hypocrisy of the status quo.” —Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, in The Horn Book Magazine
“I am tempted to say that Garfield’s stories are the tallest, the deepest, the wildest, the most spine-chilling, the most humorous, the most energetic, the most extravagant, the most searching, the most everything.” —John Rowe Townsend, A Sense of Story: Essays on Contemporary Writers for Children
“[The Night of the Comet is] the most felicitous collection of mishaps since the author’s equally Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris.” —School Library Journal
“Garfield nimbly choreographs all the cross-purpose encounters and unexpected entrances and exits, bringing the various on-again/off-again relationships to a generally happy conclusion at the climactic comet watch.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Garfield’s ability to plot these tangled events clearly into a rollicking farce while maintaining his lofty but superb style makes this one of the most amusing romps of the year.” —Booklist
“A delicious literary concoction bubbling along with the author’s perfect sense of dramatic timing and with his mixture of earthy humor and effervescent wit.” —The Horn Book Magazine