‘Nancy Parker’s Diary of detection’ by Julia Lee is perfect for lovers of mysteries. I started reading it last night with the expectation of reading a few chapters but ending up finishing the whole book because I got so caught up with this entertaining story. I was determined to get to the bottom of what was really going on in the house where Nancy Parker was a housemaid. Full of intrigue, suspicious characters and some very clever, observant children this story is a total delight.
It opens with our young heroine Nancy who has just left school at the age of 14. Unlike everyone else in her town she has aspirations beyond working in a biscuit factory, not wishing to come home worn ou,t with her hair and clothes smelling like biscuits. She dreams of being an actress in a film, but would settle for a job in a shop but in her heart she longs to be a famous detective. Brought up on a diet of 6-penny detective novels Nancy feels that drama could be lying in wait for her just around the corner. When she secures a place as a maid in the house of Mrs Bryce little does she suspect that this is the start of an exciting adventure. Before she knows it she finds herself unwittingly being the detective she longed to be with mysteries needing to be solved all around her. Who is behind the disappearance of the silver and jewels in The Green, what is Cook trying to hide and is there more to Mrs Bryce’s than meets the eye?
Julia assembles a fantastic cast of characters to uncover the truth. Nancy, Ella and Quentin use their anonymity as children to carefully observe the events as they unfold and start to put together the different pieces of the puzzle. This is an exciting and adventurous story which will appeal to all inquisitive children who love to try and work out what is going on and solve the mystery. You are kept on tenterhooks right to the very end. I found the use of Nancy’s diary extracts and postcards really fascinating. It gave us a real insight into her world which contrasts greatly from the privileged childhoods that Ella and Quentin have grown up within. The characters are written with great depth and warmth and you get a real feeling for who they are and what motivates them to become involved in this mystery. This book is a real treasure and I’m really hoping there is more to come from Nancy Parker and her intrepid friends.
Thank you to Oxford University Press for sending me a proof copy of this book to review.