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Recommended reads for August 2021

Crime at Sea

The Secret Detectives, Ella Risbridger

Isobel Petty, immediately reminiscent of Mary Lennox in the Secret Garden, has been recently orphaned. She must leave her home in India. Bound for England on board a mail ship, she is witness to a murder. Isobel, and her companions Sam and Letitia, must use their wits to solve the crime.

In a makeshift office in a lifeboat, fuelled by a never-ending supply of condensed milk and a joyful admiration of Holmes and Watson, they watch, listen and piece together connections to solve the case. It's cleverly done; I was clueless as to who had committed the crime until the end, when it all made perfect sense. 9+

Tiger, tiger

The Time Traveller and the Tiger, Tania Unsworth

I can never resist a book set in India and this time-slip novel which drifts between 1940s India, on the verge of independence, and the present day, buzzes with adventure. A strong eco theme and generous, beautiful descriptions of the Indian countryside had me captivated.

Add to that a spectacular heroine, the all powerful majestic, much maligned tiger, friendship and the chance to right past wrongs and you have reading magic.

The author uses different narrative voices - both animal and human - to great effect. 10+

A glorious adventure

Orphans of the Tide, Struan Murray

A completely original, inventive, beautiful, beautiful book. Fantastic, plucky heroine, who just happens to be an inventor and an orphan. A boy stuck in the belly of a whale that has beached itself on the roof of a Chapel. An Enemy that threatens to bring dark chaos to their world and the Inquisition that hunts it. All steeped in suspicion, myth and peril.

The prose is magical. The beginning is astonishing. 11+

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