The Firebird Mystery: A Jack Mason Adventure by Darrell Pitt

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Penguin, 2014. ISBN 9781922147752.
Highly recommended for readers from 11 years of age. Themes: Steampunk Fiction, Detectives, Orphans, London - England - History, Adventure stories, Detectives, Technology - fiction, Mysteries. Darrell Pitt's exciting new Steampunk series introduces young orphan Jack Mason to the reader. Filled with derring-do deeds, determined detective work and dastardly villains this exciting fast-paced adventure is set in an alternative London world.After the unfortunate death of Jack's acrobat parents, he's sent to live at Sunnyside Orphanage a dismal place where he's taunted by bullies. Jack's life changes dramatically when he is rescued and taken to live with an eccentric detective Ignatius Doyle. The next week of his life is filled with danger as they take on the case of finding Scarlet Bell's missing father and saving the world from the evil clutches of Professor M.
The novel is rich in imagery with familiar London sights, historical events and figures interwoven with futuristic technological inventions. Huge steam airships fill the skies, metrotowers stretch skyward and giant megastructures covered with terrafirma two hundred times stronger than steel fill the landscape.
Jack and Scarlet show real emotions and their skills are much needed by the eccentric Mr. Doyle to help solve these mysteries. Darryl Pitt has drawn from Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes, Jules Verne and added villains from history to make this a rich and rewarding novel. Scarlet Bell is a strong relatable character, an advocate of women's rights and the Suffragette movement. Detective Doyle's character adds to humour especially when he reminisces about previous cases involving three bizarre elements - a spanner, rubber plant and exploding nun!
This is a wonderful introductory novel, there are seven more to come! Highly recommended for readers from 11 years of age. Great class novel with links to History, Geography, Technology and Science.
Rhyllis Bignell