Circle of Suspicion

I think you’ll know what I mean if I compare this book to the Famous Five – but with mobile phones. Take Vinnie, Troy, Steffi, Niamh and Sean (without Timmy the dog), a winking light in a spooky old house, a smuggling conspiracy, underground caves and you’ve a plot that will be familiar to all those readers long since weaned off Enid Blyton. Our curious five aren’t middle-class English, however, but a curious mix of Irish kids accompanied by a cool American cousin who calls everyone ‘man’ and ‘dude’. Told from Sean’s perspective, the story is of a prospect of a boring summer in Five Rivers, exacerbated by the fact that everyone else has something planned for the holidays and that he is the only one without a mobile phone. (There’s a lot of texting going on where the Famous Five would have been frantically sending coded messages via flashlamp.) When Sean discovers a notebook written in code at the deserted old house, he and Steffi decode its contents with the help of a Dutch friend in an internet chat room. It all works out well for the Circle of Five in the end, especially Sean who earns a prized reward for his part in capturing the smugglers – a mobile phone. Not at all a bad adventure story, which makes a good effort to be real and up to date.