Remember, Remember

Fourteen-year-old Aleister Lister Smith is sailing through a peaceful existence at a respectable public school in Shropshire. Perhaps too peaceful, even a bit boring at times. The only adventures in his life are the ones he reads about in books like The Count of Monte Cristo.

But all that changes one day when the mysterious brother-in-law of his schoolmaster shows up. What are these troubles that the brother-in-law is undergoing, and why does he want Aleister to help him with them?

Before he knows what’s happening Aleister finds himself on the way to Manchester, ostensibly to work as a clerk in an insurance office, but really to try to find out the identity of a blackmailer.

Complicating his life once he gets there is a young girl named Kate who quotes Paradise Lost and seems alarmingly lively. Then there is Jack, his co-worker, who sneaks out during work to smoke. It all seems quite a different world from peaceful Shropshire.

And then on Guy Fawkes Night, there’s a murder.

“As the long summer vacation looms ahead, parents looking for good reading for their teenagers should consider Sheldon Goldfarb’s new novel, “Remember, Remember.” Set in Victorian England, readers will meet an engaging group of characters who inadvertently get caught up in the traditional antics of a Guy Fawkes Day celebration that lead to a challenging mystery. Apart from good entertainment for adolescents, they will painlessly learn something of English culture in the 19th century as well as find their curiosity piqued by references to the 17th century plot to destroy the houses of Parliament. They may go to the library or the nearest encyclopedia to learn more about Guy Fawkes! Good things to read is the perfect antidote for youngsters cut adrift from their school structure.”
— Dr. Doris Meriwether, Emeritus Professor of Literature, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

“I am most impressed with your style. The sentences flow along at a good pace and young readers, I believe, will find the developing plot as captivating as I did.”
— Dr. Doris Meriwether, Emeritus Professor of Literature, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

“I love your story!! Aleister is so cool. You have loads of mystery and I can never wait to get more chapters.”
— Eve Mozur, age 11

“I really like your sense of writing because you put so much detail in it and I love your sense of adventure.”
— Brody Watson, age 11

“A good read, full of Dickensian characters, red herrings and a hint of a love interest.”
— Diane Dakers, Victoria Times Colonist

“Goldfarb is a good writer…the possibility of a sequel clearly presents itself.”
The Gazette (Montreal)

Review by The Grumpy Old Bookman

“… Sheldon Goldfarb’s doctorate in Victorian literature, his life-long interest in history and his previous publications on William Makepeace Thackeray have served him extremely well for his debut young adult historical mystery novel, *Remember, Remember*. His story is an intriguingly entertaining mix of blackmail, murder, and youthful romance, shot through with large dollops of tension and suspense, and set in an age in England when the East India Co. was still an economic force to be reckoned with, the Darwin-Huxley debates over evolution were to be listened to, aggressive young women shouldering their way into the workforce as typing machine operators were to be wondered about, and public boarding school lads like 14-year-old Aleister Lister Smith were to be reprimanded for secretly reading *The Count of Monte Cristo*, or even worse, for participating in Guy Fawkes Day celebrations.

“A shy but engagingly bright young fellow, Aleister … gets the shock of his life when he is removed from the security of his Latin and Greek studies in his Shrewsbury school and put to work as an undercover apprentice clerk and pretend nephew for Mr. Arthur Talbot, ‘a big brown bear’ of a man and an insurance agent who is being threatened with blackmail at his firm in Manchester. Like a dutiful Sherlock-Holmes-in-training, Aleister sets out to solve the blackmailing while settling in to a Victorian family life style where Mrs. Talbot quilts or reads Thackeray’s books, Mr. Talbot scolds him for not knowing more about the Fenians or lectures him on the emerging art of photography, and teenage daughter, Kate, sets his head spinning with her natural good looks, good-natured teasing, and outspoken feminist views. Despite … the daily distractions of his workplace … Aleister inches forward, sorting good clues from bad. Eventually, he discovers that Mr. Talbot is being blackmailed for a good reason, and soon afterwards, that blackmail and murder have partnered during the diverting events of the Guy Fawkes Day celebrations … It is unfortunate that Mr. Talbot turns up at the wrong time and in the wrong place with his new-fangled photographic equipment and is arrested as a suspect in the murder. So it is Aleister who must, with Kate’s able help …, sort out the last of the mystery …

“Once the teenagers have tidied everything up, Aleister returns to the safety of his Shrewsbury school with his daily dose of Latin and Greek, occasional indulgences of *The Count of Monte Cristo*, and his leisurely dreams of being ‘a detective again with Kate.’ And if author Goldfarb is also dreaming of reuniting them, we can be sure we’ll get a well-told and suspenseful story about refreshingly interesting characters in uniquely interesting times. …”
— M. Wayne Cunningham, Books in Canada

(Out of Print)