Rose Ravensthorpe Investigates: Black Cats and Butlers by Janine Beacham
Little Brown Books for Children, 2017. ISBN 9781510201286
(Age: 9+) Recommended. This has been one of my favourite reads of the past few weeks. Described as The Clockwork Sparrow meets Downton Abbey it is really energetic and engaging novel.
Rose is meant to be a properly brought up young lady but somewhat rebels against this classification and when butlers all over London begin to be murdered including her own beloved Argyle, Rose determines to find out the truth.
Set in an Edwardian period Rose teams up with her not-so-bright friend and discovers a hidden world of secret guardians of York – butlers sworn to protect and serve.
Amidst complications of grave robbers, her father's mission to destroy the opium trade from the Far East and an over-the-top magician, Rose becomes a trusted ally of the butlers' secret society. As the butlers wield their concealed rapiers, Rose unravels the dark reason behind the murders and triumphs exultantly.
Despite the darkness of the murders this is what I would describe as a 'fun' read. The prose simply rolls along and one must turn the page quickly to keep going until the denouement.
With mystery and history and a judicious splash of humour, this is a terrific addition to your library shelves for readers from around 9 or 10 upwards.
I'm definitely looking forward to the next instalment!