Curiousity House The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver HC Chester

Lauren Oliver has joined forces with the mysterious collector H.C. Chester (who reportedly is her father Harold Schechter) to bring us an exciting new series that tells the adventures of four crime-solving orphans who live in the Dumfrey’s Museum of Freaks, Oddities and Wonders. Welcome to New York City in the 1930’s. Dime store museums are popular. They have collections of weird and valuable artifacts. Most of the artifacts are fake but people still flock to see them. The Museum also collects people. It puts on a show featuring them as freaks. The freaks live together in the museum like carnival or circus folk would. They have become a big family, support each other, and are kind especially towards the children.

Meet Philippa (a mentalist), Sam (the strongest boy in the world) and Thomas (a contortionist who can fit in a box). They have grown up in the museum. They never question why they have their abilities. They view their differences as gifts that make them special. They are proud to be in the “show.” When a girl named Max joins them, the owner Mr. Dumfrey is overjoyed. She’s a knife thrower and he thinks she’ll bring in more people to see the show. The Museum has fallen on bad times financially. Then, when a shrunken head appears it seems too good to be true. It brings in record crowds.  So what if it is supposedly cursed? When people who see it end up dead, Mr. Dumfrey becomes suspect number one. The four children join forces to prove his innocence and uncover a bigger conspiracy that they are a part of. Their abilities are no accident. They vow to find out more. There will no doubt be more adventures to come.

With an exciting premise and a wonderful re-creation of Manhattan circa 1930 this book is a must read.

Available on Amazon.