Alice-Miranda and the Christmas mystery by Jacqueline Harvey

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The Christmas break is just about to begin, and twelve year old Alice-Miranda has invited her close friends from boarding school to Highton Hall for a pre-Christmas celebration.  The children are varying ages of teens with Alice-Miranda the youngest but seemingly the wisest and most compassionate. Also included at the last minute is Caprice, the ‘mean’ girl, who has been forced to remain at school for the holidays. This will test the boundaries of friendship for Millie, but things fortunately have a way of working themselves out.

The children staying at Highton Hall enjoy a privileged lead up to Christmas with exciting activities organised, cooking Christmas treats, playing in the snow and enjoying Christmas shopping. There are events to attend in the village and an invitation to a grand party. However not all is as it seems, with Alice-Miranda’s family business under a cloud with missing Christmas stock, a young girl persuaded to take part in theft, the disappearance of missing Christmas decorations and a long-time mystery to be solved. Alice-Miranda, Millie and their friends are instrumental in helping solve the mysteries and Christmas Day is a day of celebration.

This is the 21st book in the series and continues to be enjoyed by loyal readers. It is a bonus for readers that Jacqueline Harvey includes a list of characters at the end of the book as there are so many included in the story. The character of Alice-Miranda is that of a thoughtful and caring person who is very aware of her fortunate life but always considers others.

Themes: Christmas, Friendship, Theft, Gangs, Mysteries, Problem-solving, Family.

Kathryn Beilby