Maisie Hitchins dreams of adventure. She longs to follow in the footsteps of her idol, famous detective Gilbert Carrington. Instead, she finds herself doing chores in her practical grandmother’s boarding house. But that is about to change. First, she finds an abandoned puppy which she takes home and hides right under her grandmother’s nose. Then, Maisie is plunged into a world of day-to-day intrigue…. robbed sausages, stolen sixpence and a speeding bicycle chase that leads to the discovery of the real thief. Victorian London, take notice! Maisie Hitchins is on the job.
This, the first book in a new series by the ever popular Holly Webb, has much to commend it. Filled with humour and mystery, Maisie Hitchins is sure to be a hit. The action is formulaic and easy for the newly competent reader to follow. Maisie’s character is utterly charming and a wonderful new hero for young girls. The surrounding characters are brilliantly quirky, and quickly come to life due to Webb’s assured writing style. The historical location conjures up images of Sherlock Holmes-type investigation, but the intrigue is gentle and contains the right interests for the age level at which it is aimed. The descriptions of time and place are evocative, but never laboured. The book is peppered through with detailed, yet clear illustrations by Marion Lindsay and these add greatly to the story, as well as create welcome visual breaks.
In short, Maisie Hitchins is a thoroughly enjoyable read. The second in this series, Maisie Hitchins: The Case of the Vanishing Emerald,will be released at the same time. Can’t wait! Highly recommended for girls 5-7, 8-10.