Saturday, 4 May 2013

Maisie Hitchins–The Case of the Stolen Sixpence by Holly Webb

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Maisie Hitchins watched, open-mouthed, as the famous detective Gilbert Carrington came haring down the front steps of his lodging house, hauling on his coat as he ran. His faithful assistant Major Edward Lamb galloped after him, clutching both their hats, and they sprang into a cab and rattled away.
Pages – 170
Published by Stripes  Publishing in May 2013
Amazon Summary
Holly Webb fans will be thrilled to pieces to discover the adventures of Maisie Hitchins, the pluckiest little detective in Victorian London. Maisie Hitchins lives in her grandmother's boarding house, longing for adventure. She idolizes the famous detective, Gilbert Carrington, and follows his every case. But Maisie is about to be given the opportunity of a lifetime: her own mystery to solve! In the first book in this fantastic new series, Maisie rescues a puppy in peril whilst running an errand, and adopts him. She decides to investigate the puppy's original cruel owner, but instead gets tangled up in an intriguing plot involving stolen sausages, pilfered halfpennies and a fast-paced bicycle chase. The streets of Victorian London are never safe, but Maisie's on the case!
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What a gorgeous book this was! This is the first book I’ve read by the author and I really wish I had bought more of her books for my girls when they were younger.
Maisie Hitchins is a strong willed young lady for that time period and I love her for it. She really is a gutsy little girl full of curiosity and strong morals. She isn’t frightened to stand up for what she believes in during a time period where children were seen and not heard. She desperately wants to be a detective like Gilbert Carrington and convinces herself that she can solve crimes too. With the help of her newly rescued puppy, Eddie, she takes it upon herself to solve the mystery behind the missing coins which led to George, the butcher’s assistant being sacked. She will stop at nothing to find out the truth and with the help of the  lodgers in her grandmother’s house she finds her own methods for sleuthing.
The lodgers staying at 31 Albion Street are a colourful bunch. In this story we get to meet the new lodger, Professor Tobin, who comes up with an ingenious idea to help save Eddie from the streets. We also spend time with the actress Miss Lane, who is a master of disguises, helping to turn Maisie into all sorts of characters who can fool the public, to find out the truth. I’m pretty sure we’ll get to meet all the residents and spend more time with them as the series progresses.
This book was an utter delight. I loved the idea of a  such a strong, female detective during Victorian times. She could give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money.  The chapters are short, yet well paced. The writing easy to read and the inner child in me was happy to step back in time to Holly Webb’s Victorian London.
You can’t talk about this book without mentioning the  gorgeous illustrations by Marion Lindsay. At the front of the book there is a  picture of the grandmother’s house as if it were cut in half. It is so detailed and pretty, I had to fight the urge to get my colouring pens out and colour it! I wouldn’t be surprised if children will want to give them colour as they are absolutely stunning.
This is the first book in the series and I’m sure there will be many more to follow. An ideal series for the 7 to 9 year old market who enjoy a good mystery.

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