The Spice Box Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Spice Box

Berkley, May 2005, 21.95, 320 pp.
ISBN 0425200434

Irish Immigrant Bridget Henry has not had an easy life. Her family was forced to leave Ireland during the potato famine by their English landlord; her mother died on their ship while en route to America; and when they finally arrive, she and her younger sister have to survive on their own because their father disappears for months at a time. They both get sent to the orphanage where Bridget learns to be a cook and she lands a job at the home of wealthy department storeowner Isaac Gold.
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On her first day on the job she finds the body of Mr. Gold's son in the dough box. He was shot twice in the chest and the police are so incompetent Mr. Gold decides to find his son's killer with Bridget's help. While they are chasing down every clue, Bridget is also looking to solve the mystery of her sister's disappearance, a quest that she can finally do now that she has Mr. Gold to help her.

The mouth-watering descriptions of the food that the chefs serve to the Gold family will make the reader very hungry. Bridget and Mr. Gold are a great pair of amateur sleuths and readers get a look at life in New York City during the Civil War. The division between upstairs and downstairs classes gives the reader a feel for what it was like to be a servant for the rich and powerful.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Spice Box

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   american civil war period What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   chef Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Lou Jane Temple Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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