Witch's Business

Witch's Business - Diana Wynne Jones

When I was on my spree of reading Jones' books in the year or so after she died, I remember seeing 'Witch's Business' on the shelf at the library and avoiding it. It has such an ugly cover, and the title is stupid. Now, having picked it up at a book sale for 25¢, I find that this was her first children's book. Her first! And re-titled for the American market. For the record, Mrs. Publisher, 'Wilkin's Tooth' is a much more intriguing title.

Anyway. Even for a prototype, this is a decent Jones book. A brother and sister desperate to make pocket money start a revenge business (eat it Encyclopedia Brown) in their backyard and start a whole mess of trouble with the procurement of a tooth for a tooth. There's a shade too many children, six or seven never get so much as named, and the mess is hastily solved at the end, but most of us know that Jones made the most of her ample room for improvement in the thirty-plus year career that followed this book.