I’m a huge fan of mystery stories, I wait patiently for the next instalment in a series to be released and try to follow the clues and solve the mysteries before the culprits of the crime are identified. There are so many fabulous middle grade series of books from the wonderful ‘Murder Most Unladylike,’ by Robin Stevens to the brilliant ‘Sinclair Mysteries,’ by Katherine Woodfine. But luckily for young detectives getting ready to move on from Clara Vulliamy’s fabulous ‘Dotty Detective,’ series and Kate Pankhurst’s ‘Mariella Mysteries,’ we have the marvellous ‘Violet,’ books written by Harriet Whitehorn and illustrated by Becka Moor. Exquisitely produced and sublimely illustrated these books are a real thing of beauty. The attention to detail in Becka’s illustrations is completely delightful, she captures the sense of mystery and the subtle humour brilliantly. You can feel the love and care that has gone into each detail and illustration that is scattered throughout the books. Today on the blog I’m going to be sharing with you a flavour of all of the books in this intriguing series. Filled with the most marvellous eccentric characters and beautiful descriptive writing these are the most sublime adventures, I can’t recommend them enough.
‘Violet and the Pearl of the Orient,’ introduces the reader to the quick witted and smart Violet. You know Violet is not your ordinary type of girl when you learn that she lists speaking fluent French, mixing a perfect cocktail and playing poker as some of the unusual things she has learned in her life so far. She’s the kind of girl who notices when strange things are afoot, so when the Count and Countess Du Plicitous move into her neighbourhood she finds them very odd and fails to fall for their charms like all of the grown ups. When her fabulous neighbour Dee Dee Derota precious jewel is stolen Violet suspects that the Count and Countess are to blame. Of course nobody will listen to the protests of a small girl, so it’s up to Violet and her friends to come up with a cunning plan to expose the thief. A brilliant mix of bumbling adults and keen eyed children make for a truly enjoyable story that will entice and entertain mystery lovers.
In ‘Violet and the Hidden Treasure,’ we are transported to India where Violet is on holiday with her godmother Celeste. Harriet tantalises all of our senses to give the reader a real flavour of the country, from delicious food, brightly coloured silk clothes to intoxicating scents we can see why Violet falls in love with India. On her travel she meets the Maharajah and his faithful companion the lively parrot, Maharani who takes a real shine to her. Back home Violet is surprised to discover the Maharajah’s butler on her doorstep asking her to look after the parrot. Strangely the parrot holds the key to the Maharajah’s fortune and someone is out to bird-nap her to get their hands on the treasure. Can Violet and her friends discover the true culprit before the treasure is lost forever. This case proves to be more tricky to solve, with very little clues, numerous suspects and the crime-solving matrix that they usually rely on proving to be little help. Violet and her friends must use all of their skills to create a scheme that will outwit the crafty adults who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the treasure. Exciting and enthralling, full of twists and turns this is an absolute gem of a read.
With two solved mysteries under their belts Violet and her friends are always on the lookout for wrong doing wherever they go. So when Violet’s Uncle Johnny invites them on a sailing adventure you know it won’t be long before they find themselves in the middle of another crime. Our young friends might have bitten off more than they can chew this time, when they find themselves caught up in a smuggling ring and they don’t know who they can trust. Their plans are constantly thwarted by well meaning grown ups who don’t think children should get mixed up in dangerous crimes but unable to resist they are determined to find out who is the ringleader. Harriet has a brilliant ability to allow the reader to feel like they have been whisked away on these adventures, we are given a real sense of the place. I particularly love the celebration of the joys of Italy in the wonder of Violet and the huge variety of ice-cream flavours available, these are the kind of nuggets that fascinate children. A little bit more dangerous and thrilling than previous adventures, our friends are really put to the test in the complex and exciting case.
I have long been fascinated by Ancient Egypt and the pyramids so was really looking forward to embarking on an Egyptian adventure with Violet and her friends in ‘Violet and the Mummy Mystery,’ and I wasn’t disappointed. When Violet receives a postcard from Cairo sent by her Aunt Mathilde a famous Egyptologist she is thrilled to discover they are coming to visit. Her aunt thinks she has found a link between an Egyptian Mummy and the unknown whereabouts of Queen Nefertiti. But disaster strikes when the Mummy is stolen from the British Museum, who is behind the Mummy-Napping? It’s up to Violet and her friends to navigate a confusing array of clues, an alarming amount of suspects and some dastardly grown ups in order to save the day. A real page turner of an adventure, that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat to the very last page.
How do you convey the enormity of travel to a child? If you say a story takes place on a tropical island how do you explain just how far your characters have travelled? Well in the case of ‘Violet and the Mystery of Tiger Island,’ Violet and her friends travel by the Tube, a train, a big aeroplane, a small plane and a speedboat! You can imagine how excited they are to undertake this incredible journey to celebrate their friend’s wedding. It wouldn’t be a trip without an element of mystery thrown in, so when they unexpectedly bump into their old enemies the Count and Countess Du Plicitous they have a feeling that a crime is bound to happen. Sure enough a valuable statue is stolen, so obviously they must be guilty. But Violet and her friends should know better, things and people are not always as they seem and the obvious answer is not always the right one. With everything at risk and a hungry tiger on the loose, it’s a race against time to make sure the big day goes to plan and the real criminal is discovered. A charming end to a brilliant series, I have totally fallen in love with this wonderful cast of characters and stories. Harriet and Becka have created a series that will surely captivate the hearts and imaginations of children. Superbly written with gorgeous illustrations they are a real treat for any would-be detectives looking for a tricky case to solve.
Thank you to Olivia and Simon and Schuster for sending me copies of the entire Violet series, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them. All of these wonderful books are available to buy now online (click on the title to buy) or from any good bookshop.