The diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding
Egmont Books, 2010. ISBN 978 1405237581.
(Age: Upper primary and sarly Secondary) Highly recommended. It is 1790 and this intriguing and well scripted story is set in London at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. The Critics page gives an intriguing insight into the novel from R. B. Sheridan's tongue in cheek 'Cat Royal has no Rivals' to 'It made me realise what bliss it is to be alive today, but to be young is very heaven' by William Wordsworth! Cat Royal is an orphan living in the theatre. The mystery surrounds the conversation Cat overheard with Mr Sheridan and Marchmont where she heard about the diamond. Cat found it 'strange that somewhere amongst the squalid splendours of Drury lane Mr Sheridan had hidden a treasure - a perfect diamond, a real jewel in her gilt crown' (p21).
The plot twists through the streets of London with many riotous incidents involving gangs who fight openly, and meeting Pedro, who played the violin for Lady Elizabeth and Lord Francis and for whom Cat read the beginning of her novel. The sights and smells of the period resonate as the mystery deepens. It's a very fascinating novel, bringing to life the characters with an originality that captures the imagination. The mystery is very cleverly solved. A delightful read.