Clara has grown up in an old, crumbling mansion where her mother is a housekeeper. The owner, Mrs. Glendoveer, is an elderly woman whose late husband was a magician. The house is in disrepair and large parts of it are shuttered, but it is all Clara has ever known. Her mother refuses to let her play with other kids or go to school because of her ‘weak heart.’ Clara spends everyday with Mrs. Glendoveer, the cook Ruby, and her mother. And the birds. The creepy, scary birds that scream every time she comes near them. They live in an aviary in the garden, as was the dying wish of Mr. Glendoveer.
Clara avoids the menacing birds, but one day, the mynah speaks to her. He says, “Elliott!” over and over. Clara has no idea what he’s talking about, so she asks Mrs. Glendoveer. It’s then that she learns that Elliott Glendoveer was Mrs. Glendoveer’s son, but he was lost as an infant. It isn’t until later that she learns that he was kidnapped with his four siblings – the siblings all drowned, but Elliott was never found. For some reason, the crazy birds in the yard seem insistent that she do something about that – nearly 50 years after it happened!
The mystery intrigues Clara, so she investigates. As she does, though, the story just gets stranger and stranger. What really happened to the Glendoveer children? Can she solve a mystery that went cold years before she was even born?
reviewed by Jessica