The Mystery of the Cupboard
by Lynne Reid Banks
The fourth book in the adventures of Omri and Little Bear is appropriately named, since it is more like a mystery than any of the others.
Another year has gone by. Omri and his family have moved to a Dorset "longhouse," a quaint two-story place with stone walls, thatched roof, farm outbuildings and countryside all around it.
Right off, the thatch needs to be replaced, and this is specialized work steeped in tradition. One such tradition is that a bottle is hidden in the thatch each time it is redone, with a list of the men who worked on it (and all previous lists) enclosed. But something else turns up in the thatch as well, something that Omri finds and keeps secret. It is an old cash box, locked, key missing, and a diary kept by an actress who died thirty years ago-- about the time the last thatching was done.
The actress, Jessica Charlotte Driscoll, turns out to be a relative of Omri's. And her story provides tantalizing glimpses into the origins of the magic cupboard and the magic key that make little plastic people come to life. With the help of his visiting friend Patrick and a very sad old man who worked on the thatch in Jessica Charlotte's day, Omri unlocks some of the dark secrets of his family history, full of tragic irony. And after breaking his promise to himself and taking the cupboard and key out of safe storage, he meets the little people plucked from history by an earlier owner of the same cupboard and key.
The only problem is, Omri's good intentions may go awry. An opportunity to change history-- his own family's history-- tempts him. But if he changes things, could he erase himself from existence? Never has it been more apparent that Omri is in over his head than as this fear eats at him.
What more can I tell you without blowing the whole mystery? Well, there is one thing. What happens at the end of the book changes the course of Omri's adventures for good. How it does so, you must discover by reading The Key to the Indian.
Recommended Age: 10+
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