TITLE = THE HOUSE OF SILK
AUTHOR = ANTHONY HOROWITZ
GENRE = MYSTERY, CRIME, DETECTIVE STORY
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10 AND UP
What a delight – that action adventure writer Anthony Horowitz should create a Sherlock Holmes’ novel in the vein of Conan Doyle!! And he does so with great style. With Sherlock Holmes dead, a rather lonely Dr Watson pens another story recalling one of their adventures together. More correctly, it is two stories rolled into one. What starts out as a rather scary tale about revenge turns into an even more sinister affair in which Holmes and Watson venture, quite literally, into the dark heart of London. In doing so, Holmes puts his life and reputation at risk. The two stories cleverly merge together in a satisfying and clever conclusion.
For young readers who are not acquainted with Doyle’s original stories, this is a great introduction. The London of Holmes’ time is cleverly and authentically recreated and the style and language gives a flavour of Doyle’s original tales. Holmes’ clever and distinctive detecting style is also credibly conveyed. Let’s hope this is just the first of many new Sherlock Holmes’ adventures from Anthony Horowitz.
Highly Recommended (dma) *****
TITLE =THE UNDERSTUDY’S REVENGE
AUTHOR = SOPHIE MASSON
GENRE = MYSTERY, HISTORICAL FICTION
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9 AND UP
This is an exciting story that is part-adventure and part-mystery, with a feisty girl (Millie) as the main character. Although she would secretly like to be a novelist, Millie helps her father, who is the director of an acting ensemble which is about to perform “Hamlet”. She befriends the newest actor in the team, Oliver, before realising that maybe he is hiding a deep and deadly secret. Millie is fuelled in her suspicions by her friend, Seth, who also helps her in her detective work. As they try to unravel the link between Oliver and the play itself, readers will be kept on the ege of their seats trying to solve the mystery and hoping that Millie survives to discover the truth, too. Young teen readers will no doubt enjoy the historical setting of the book (nineteenth century London, with references to Ausralian golddigging days) and the way that loose threads are neatly tied up by the novel’s end. A touch of romance never hurts, either!
Recommended (dma) ****
TITLE = A Pocketful of EYES
AUTHOR = Lili WILKINSON
GENRE = MYSTERY, ROMANCE
INTEREST LEVEL = YEAR 7 AND UP
Readers are sure to enjoy Lili Wilkinson’s latest novel, as it is part mystery, part trivia quiz and part romance …. and full of fun. Once again we have a spunky female lead: the delightful, mystery-loving (but rather bossy) Bee, who is working over the summer hols at the museum, in the taxidermy department. When her much admired Head of Department dies one night in the museum, Bee decides she must become Girl Detective Bee (and follow in the footsteps of her favourite childhood characters, Trixie Belden and the too-perfect, Nancy Drew). Bee is joined in her adventures by new sidekick, Toby – who proves to be every bit as baffling to Bee as the crime she is trying to solve.
As Bee and Toby try to resolve the central mystery, plenty of clues are unravelled (and the reader will learn more than they ever wanted to know about the mating habits of various critters, thanks to med-student Toby). Bee also realises that despite her awesome detectiving skills she also has much to learn – about Toby, about friendship and about life.
A wonderfully entertaining romp that will keep the reader guessing to the last page – and peopled with the most intriguing characters (especially Bee’s Mum and her new partner, the Celestial Badger). Lovers of mystery novels (not just Nacy Drew but also adult classics, like Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes) will love the frequent literary references and the closing scenes of the book. There is a lot to enjoy in this mysery novel … perhaps this is the beginning of a new Detective Girl series??? We can only hope so.
You can read more about the author and her other novels on her website.
Selected as a Notable book for the for CBCA Book of the Year 2012 (Older Readers)
Highly Recommended (dma) *****