The remarkable secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen by Deborah Abela

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Random House, 2009
ISBN 978174166095 1
(Ages 7-10) Recommended for Middle Primary. So unfamiliar to modern readers, the plot has the feeling of excitement, mystery and magic of bygone era.  The setting of Bonhoffen's Seaside Pier is unusual.  Readers will be intrigued to try to solve the plot against the pier and the Bonhoffens.  The characters are realistically portrayed with Aurelie, the main character, a feisty girl, who loves and defends her family and who wants to preserve the family business.  Laced with humour and innuendo, the plot unravels cleverly.  On her twelfth birthday Aurelie finds out about the family's remarkable secret.  The characters, both good and bad are believable.  Imagine a Principal called Mrs Farnhumple and a Mayor called Bog!
The loving family is sensitively portrayed and the uncles are especially intriguing.  The humour in the language is quite advanced, but quick young readers will enjoy the repartee and want to solve the puzzle for themselves.
It's a fun read for good middle primary readers.  The font  is clear and the text is set well apart.
Sue Nosworthy