Published July 7th 2011
Book kindly sent for review by publisher.
Stone Cottage was quite possibly the most boring place Jack Carter had ever seen. The walls were grey, the roof was grey, grey rain was falling from a grey sky: even the pigeons huddling on the chimney were grey and sort of fed-up looking.
Scott and Jack have been shipped off to Great Aunt Kate's house in Cornwall for the summer. They are both annoyed and fed up on arrival and worried that the holiday will be extremely boring. Until they meet Emily Wild and her dog, Drift who takes the boys out to see the Whistling Caves. Only when they get to the caves, they find they are no longer Whistling.
They are informed that a legend surrounds the castle that when the caves stop whistling, the castle will come under attack. So when priceless treasures are stolen from the castle, the children begin to believe that the legend is true. Can they solve the mystery of the whistling caves?
Whilst reading this book, I found myself instantly transported back to my childhood, reading my beloved Enid Blyton books. Helen Moss has captured that Blytonesque essence, bottled it, added a dash of real life and and a slice of modern times to create a whole new series for today's generation.
The characters Jack, Scott and Emily appeared to be very similar to the teenagers of today. Yet they each have that thrill of adventure bursting to get out. Emily reminded me a lot of Harriet the Spy, as she spent many hours investigating her neighbours. The dog, Drift, could definitely have been a descendant of Timmy, from the Famous Five, or maybe even Lassie, with his quick instincts. This is quite a short book, so a lot of the secondary characters didn't really make an impression on me. However one did, Mrs Loveday, the cleaner, who had me in stitches with her inaccurate word usage.
The crime happened quite quickly in the beginning of the book, and then the plot moved along at quite a fast pace. The children found themselves in quite a few dangerous situations which had me worrying that they wouldn't get out safely.
I really enjoyed reading this book, especially as the mystery kept you hooked right until the end. Quite a few red herrings are thrown in, before the real thief is discovered and then we are supplied with some climatic scenes to get us to the end. In the same way as Enid Blyton would, the case is solved by the last page, the thief is put in jail and the reasons for the theft are laid bare for everyone to see.
A good spirited fun adventure that will have you reminiscing your childhood. I would definitely recommend this as a summer read for all nine years old, especially those who are embarking on the journey for their own holiday of adventure.
I am really pleased that the rest of this series will be brought out in quick succession. There are six books written altogether and I can't wait to read the next. Though I may have to stock up on lashings of ginger beer first!