Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Twitter-style summary: A mummy runs amok in the Fitzwilliam museum smashing precious artefacts. Will Slightly’s superstitions get in the way of solving the case?

Slightly Jones is a thoroughly modern heroine railing against Victorian stereotypes that little girls should be seen and not heard. With her ferrety features and flyaway red hair, Slightly’s hard to miss and if you were to make such a mistake, she’d give you a piece of her mind for such rudeness.

This is the third in the Slightly Jones Mystery series, the first of which, The Case of the London Dragonfish, shortlisted for this year’s Scottish Children’s Book Awards. Each story features Slightly as our heroine solving mysteries with a spooky leaning set in famous museums around the British Isles. The first was set in the Natural History Museum in London, the second in the Hunterian in Glasgow and this one takes place in the hallowed halls of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Whilst Slightly’s already tackled ghosts in a cemetery and a mad professor, this time she’s facing something a little scarier – an Ancient Egyptian curse and a mummy to match.

The mysteries are cleverly plotted with just enough twists and turns for the young audience to keep guessing who the villain is without it becoming too frustratingly oblique and the historical settings are used to good effect. However, I think it’s my fondness for the wide and varied cast of characters that comes to the fore when I think of these stories. Fond as I am of Slightly’s sparky nature, I especially enjoy seeing her played against another character, perhaps the street-smarts of her nemesis/sidekick, Matthew Bone or the firm no-nonsense authority of Granny Tonic. Each book starts with someone coming to visit the boarding house run by Granny Tonic and the book will follow the story of one of the fellow boarders – so far we’ve saved Mr Thurgood the novelist nightwatchman from a crime he didn’t commit and quiet composer Mr Gentler from a family disaster – this time it’s feminine feminist Miss Forth’s turn…

A series that can be read independently of one another, but when read together form a happy, vibrant picture of a sleuth in training. Thoroughly pleasing to publish and a delight to read, with just enough danger to keep you on the edge of your seat and peopled by characters you really wish you could hang out with more.

1 comment:

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