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Children's Fiction Mysteries & Detective Stories

The Pear Affair

by (author) Judith Eagle

illustrated by Jo Rioux

Candlewick Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2022
Mysteries & Detective Stories, Siblings, Europe
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 14
  • Grade: 5 to 9


Nell is determined to find her beloved missing au pair in this vibrant adventure set in, and underneath, Paris.

Penelope Magnificent spends as little time as possible with her awful parents—a grocery-mogul father and a fashion-obsessed mother who loves expensive purses more than she does her daughter. But when they mention an important trip to Paris, Nell begs to come along. Paris holds something very dear to her: her old au pair Perrine—Pear—who lives there. Pear used to write to Nell every week, promising to come to her rescue, but recently the letters stopped. With the help of a savvy bellboy named Xavier, Nell sets out from her parents’ ultra-fancy Parisian hotel to find her beloved Pear. But Pear’s old neighbors and coworkers are strangely tight-lipped. And as Nell’s search for the truth takes her and Xavier to some of the darkest, most mysterious parts of the city, a sinister plot comes to light involving the destruction of a cherished—and delicious—part of Parisian life. Food, fashion, and intrigue abound in this delightful caper from the author of The Secret Starling.

About the authors

Judith Eagle's profile page

Jo Rioux was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. An artist from an early age, she was eventually drawn to children’s books, illustrating Swordquest for HarperCollins and the graphic novel series A Sam and Friends Mystery for Kids Can Press. Her love for the comic medium spurred her to author her first graphic novel series, Cat’s Cradle. She lives in the lush suburbs of her hometown, where, when not working at her drawing desk, she can be found nestled within a pile of books.

Jo Rioux's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Eagle masterfully maintains suspense, dispensing new clues as the events escalate, with twists and turns galore and a cast of charming, loyal friends, all set against the special atmosphere of Paris. Soft, full-page, pencil-and-ink illustrations highlight key events. A satisfying conclusion finds the villains punished, bakeries restored, and a whole new life for Nell. . . . A tour de force.

—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

As delightful and delicious as a Parisian boulangerie creation.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Set in 1969, the engaging story revolves around Nell and her new allies, who recognize a kindred spirit and try to help her, just as she extends herself to help them. An assortment of villainous adults and several kind ones round out the cast of characters while occasional black-and-white drawings illustrate this fast-paced, enjoyable mystery.


In this fun and lively story illustrated by Jo Rioux, Nell finds herself among francophones in a state of alarm: A 'mysterious spore' is wrecking the city’s supply of baguettes. As Nell races to track down the missing Pear, she acquires a posse of quirky friends, uncovers a dastardly scheme and learns certain terrible (but ultimately acceptable) truths about her own life.
—The Wall Street Journal

Eagle's entertaining mystery has everything: a plucky heroine, colorful villains, thrilling action and a most satisfying ending.
—The Buffalo News

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