Eccentric old maid, one-of-a-kind, an original none of these clichŽs do justice to 50-year-old Miss Jane Hubbell Kinneson, who has second sight, carves life-sized wooden figures for company and sits astride the U.S.-Canadian border when she eats breakfast. A Jane-of-all-trades, she also teaches, farms, fishes, runs a library and bookstore, and finds herself duty-bound to expose Shakespeare, Pretender of Avon; to revise Henry Thoreau, the Proclaimer of Concord; and to set King James straight about his Bible. ( Horsefeathers appears in the margin of her Old Testament at the stories of Lot's wife and the flood.) But Miss Jane is no fool. In 1930, she takes on the Vermont Department of Highways over the fate of the Connector, a highway project that would link Vermont and Canada but would destroy the natural beauty of Kingdom Mountain, her beloved family inheritance. Acting as her own lawyer, she shows herself as competent as any of the stodgy old men of the bar before her.

And that's not all. Early on, she rescues Henry Satterfield, an itinerant bank teller dressed nattily in white with a crimson vest, from an icy death in his yellow biplane. Although his past is cloudy, his future will be bright if he finds the treasure of gold that was stolen from the local bank during the Civil War and hidden somewhere on the mountain. Improbable events ensue.

Howard Frank Mosher is one of those authors who proves that life is far more amusing than one ever expected. Embedded here like cinnamon in sugar toast is a nippy humor that brings a chuckle a page to this account of quests and riddles, insights and discoveries.

The author has written nine other books, one of which, Disappearance, was co-recipient of the New England Book Award for Fiction. Excuse me I'm off to the library to find it.

One-of-a-kind reviewer Maude McDaniel eats her breakfast in Maryland.

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