The Phantasmic Detective Agency by Julian Leatherdale
Illus. by David Allen. Eagle Books, 2020. ISBN: 9780648194538. pbk.,
(Age: 10+) A gripping, historical fantasy story set in London, 1911, Christmas Eve. Lily and Leo Keeper are children of the famous stage magician Edmund Keeler. Their lives are in danger and torn apart when their parents disappear while performing a new magic trick on stage. Along comes their eccentric Uncle Alfred who is a brilliant and notorious Sherlock Holmes-like paranormal detective.
Lily and Leo are led on an adventure to find their missing parents and along the way they find secrets their parents have kept from them. They are in a fast changing era of our history of giant warships, aeroplanes with bombs, spies and assassins and the fear of war with Germany.
While reading I found the story similar to reading Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series. It was full of secrets, espionage and monstrous creatures that threaten to destroy the Keeler family.
I enjoyed the reading the historical events and places they visited especially the Catacombs in Paris. I could picture them there as I have visited them and many other places that were mentioned.
I managed to find teacher's notes based on the book and think they would be a great history lesson with the students. Just imagine how you could use this novel in your class
This is Julian Leatherdale's first children's novel. He has written adult novel. I enjoyed reading The Phantasmic Detective Agency and can't wait to see what will happen on Lily and Leo's next adventure.