Abandoned as a child, Property Jones is now eleven and living in a bookshop with the owner, Netty, and her son Michael. Property fits perfectly into the family of booksellers, apart from one minor detail: she can’t read! Nobody knows her secret and, too ashamed to admit the truth, Property invents clever methods to conceal it. However, things get tricky when Netty wins the world famous mechanical bookshop, the Montgomery Book Emporium, in a public raffle. Soon after settling into their new home, the Joneses receive an unpleasant visit from Mr. Pink, threatening their business and Property’s precious secret. But Property won’t give up easily and with the help of a new furry friend, the Gunther, she resolves to challenge Mr. Pink and save her family from ruin.
Bishop’s book is gripping and entertaining with plenty of light humour, enhanced throughout by black and white illustrations. The characters are well drawn, from the highly intelligent Michael to the whimsical Albert H. Montgomery. Property’s illiteracy gives an opportunity to spread awareness among young readers as it highlights the coping mechanisms and individual strengths of those who struggle with literacy skills. Property is not defined by her problem, and is portrayed as a brave, loveable and intelligent girl. Her powers of observation are far stronger than those of the other characters and she can pick a lock using just a hairgrip! But will Property ever realise that the most valuable trick you can learn is how to trust those you love?