Kin Platt Message Board

Chris Platt posts on 10/20/2008 11:16:35 AM Hi Dave, nice to hear from you! Glad you liked the book. Lots of people do.Here's another great review for Mystery For Thoreau, the new Kin Platt novel now on sale at bookstores. It is from Mark Estren, PhD. He writes ... This is the only known historical novel by Kin Platt, a prolific comic-strip writer and artist who started producing novels in the 1960s. This one has never been published before, and it is something of a find. Well paced and historically accurate as it relates to the Transcendentalists who populated Concord, Massachusetts in the 1840s, it offers accessible style and some neat turns of phrase as well as a more-than-passable mystery. The fictional central character is 16-year-old Oliver Puckle, a reporter for the Concord Freeman, who finds himself investigating a murder at Walden Pond – yes, that Walden Pond. Town politics and race relations simmer in the background, and so does a hinted-at romance between Oliver and a new arrival from the big city, Margaret Roberts. Where Henry David Thoreau fits into all this is, well, right in the middle. He is not a suspect in the murder – he was in jail when it occurred for refusing, on principle, to pay his poll tax – but he is an observant fellow with a keen feeling for what makes sense at Walden Pond and what is amiss. The events in A Mystery for Thoreau never took place, but the book has enough verisimilitude so readers will imagine that they could have happened. And Platt manages to create, with a few broad strokes, memorable portraits of characters ranging from the real (Louisa May Alcott) to the fictional (Charley Bigbow). Bigbow is especially enjoyable, being quite capable of pretending to be what white settlers expect (ex. You lost. Me find. Indian see everything. Better than bloodhound, who only smell.) while in reality being educated and well-spoken (ex. Stalking silently, carefully noting the presence or displacement of every leaf and blade of grass.) The mystery turns out to have more than a little to do with another famous American of the 1840s, Edgar Allan Poe, and the solution is neat. It is, in fact, a little too neat, as Platt wraps up the book quickly and leaves several threads tantalizingly hanging – notably the possible future of Oliver and Margaret. Platt apparently never wrote a sequel to A Mystery for Thoreau, but it would certainly be nice if one turned up somewhere.
dave k. posts on 10/20/2008 10:46:18 AM I enjoyed the book. Also, a very nice introduction by Chris Platt. I'll be recommending it to others!
Chris Platt posts on 10/17/2008 8:48:11 AM Here's another great review for Mystery For Thoreau, the new Kin Platt novel now in bookstores. This is from John Peters, writing in the ALA review magazine Booklist. November 1, 2008 Written in a discursive nineteenth- century style and populated with familiar (to the well-read, at least) historical figures, this posthumously published murder mystery showcases Platt’s ability to mix melodrama with tongue-in-cheek humor. When a mysterious, beautiful young visitor goes missing and a local madwoman is found dead on the doorstep of Henry Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond, teenaged journalist Oliver Puckle launches a frantic investigation. The crime and its solution are, however, only rudimentary insertions into a tale that is really about 1846 Concord, its environs, and its prominent citizens. Along the way Oliver encounters the godlike Ralph Waldo Emerson, advises 14-year-old tomboy Louisa May Alcott to try writing prose instead of poetry, has frank discussions about racial inequalities (in one case the n-word is used, though in the context of historical dialect) and repeatedly interviews the otherworldly Thoreau—who speaks only in direct quotes taken from his journals and other writings. If not quite another Ghost of Hellsfire Street (but then, what is?), this still sheds amusing sidelight on some major people and places in our country’s literary landscape.

a posts on 10/16/2008 9:38:18 PM A terrific read, full of twists and turns, narrated by a bright and amiable sixteen-year-old. Young Oliver Puckle weaves together his own personal story with background information on Concord’s impressive history and the lives of Concord notables. Among the substantial cast of historical characters is Henry David Thoreau, who, as he lends a hand in solving the crime, instructs Oliver in his philosophy of resistance to civil government as well as his philosophy of the ‘natural life.’” —Ronald A. Bosco, Distinguished Professor of English and American Literature, University of Albany, SUNY / Former president of the Thoreau Society / Editor of Nature’s Panorama: Thoreau on the Seasons
Chris Platt posts on 9/12/2008 5:28:26 PM Attention: Kin Platt's new Young Adult novel, A Mystery For Thoreau, is to published posthumously by Farrar Strauss & Giroux on Oct. 6th. In the historic town of Concord, Mass., in 1846, a young newspaper reporter tries to solve a brutal murder with the aid of his friends and the reclusive genius, Henry David Thoreau. If any of you know of any bookstores or libraries that might wish to hold an "event" in connection with the publication of this book, please reply to this messageboard so I may get in touch with you.
dave k. posts on 7/16/2008 9:41:26 PM Hi Chris, I saw online that marshallcavendish started a line of "classics" where they are reprinting out of print children's books. Maybe they would be interested in putting some of Kin's work out. Best, Dave Kiersh
Jeff posts on 3/31/2008 1:42:42 PM Hi Chris, Another email sent!
Chris Platt posts on 3/27/2008 8:37:53 AM Jeff, you still around? Waiting for you to get in touch if you're still interested in Sinbad.
Chris Platt posts on 3/20/2008 10:28:05 PM Hi Jeff, No, I did not. The company name is Westside-Eastside, so send to that, at RCN dotcom. Or post your email address here (Don't want to be too obvious with mine)
Jeff posts on 3/20/2008 10:13:01 PM Hi Chris, I sent you an Email. Did you get it?
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