Recently I read two delightful mysteries coming our way from England, thanks to the folks at Kane Miller. Read my review, and then enter to win both of them in my giveaway!
Set in Edwardian London, these titles are the first two in a series starring a couple of spunky young women, Sophie and Lil. We meet them in a glittering new department store as the story opens in…
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow, written by Katherine Woodfine
American edition published in 2016 by Kane Miller; 313 pages
Sophie Taylor, age 14, is newly orphaned. Accustomed to living an elegant lifestyle with her papa, Sophie now must make her own way in the world. Landing a job at Mr. Sinclair’s posh new department store in London, working in the Millinery Department among “a riot of silk flowers, huge chiffon bows, frills of lace and nodding ostrich plumes” is a bright stroke of luck for her.
It’s at Sinclair’s that Sophie makes the acquaintance of Lil, a dramatic, dark-haired beauty who works as a “Captain’s Girl,” a living mannequin, modeling the rich gowns in the store’s dress shows. Although Lil has the looks of a goddess, she’s got the spirit and spunk of a brazen detective.
Which is just as well, because a priceless clockwork sparrow has been stolen from the store’s display, and it’s up to Lil and Sophie to track down the dastardly criminal responsible!
Their adventures continue in…
…in which the two girls, their compatriots Billy and Joe, and a brother and sister from London’s Chinatown, band together, mingle with high society, and attempt to infiltrate the deadliest criminal ring in London in order to spoil their plans for international sabotage. This story contains elements of Wilkie Collins’ Moonstone, always a good idea.
The meticulously-crafted settings for these books set them apart. Department stores sparkling with finery, debutantes’ tea parties, elegant manor houses, London theaters, Chinatown, and the seedy haunts of the criminal world, are described in luscious detail.
Fast-paced, with a bit of an old-fashioned sensibility in the dialogue in keeping with their Edwardian time period, these will make excellent reads especially for younger girls who zip through books like a hot knife in butter. Advanced readers as young as 9 could enjoy these, as well as middle-graders and up who are looking for a mystery-adventure that’s not overly-dark. I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. Best to read them in order as there is a carry-over element to the plot.
And…I’m giving my copies away!
If you’d like to win both of these mysteries– that’s one winner receiving both books — just comment here or better yet share this post on Facebook or Twitter (and let me know — I cannot identify your shares via Wordpress; you’ve got to give me a head’s up in the comment section so I can enter you) before next Wednesday, October 12. I’ll announce the winner a week from today. U.S. shipping addresses only, please.
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Here are links for both titles where you can buy these great books!