What are they about?
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow
Enter a world of bonbons, hats, perfumes and mysteries around every corner. Wonder at the daring theft of the priceless CLOCKWORK SPARROW! Tremble as the most dastardly criminals in London enact their wicked plans! Gasp as our bold heroines, Miss Sophie Taylor and Miss Lilian Rose, crack codes, devour iced buns and vow to bring the villains to justice…
The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth
THE HONOUR OF YOUR COMPANY IS REQUESTED AT LORD BEAUCASTLE’S FANCY DRESS BALL.
Wonder at the puzzling disappearance of the Jewelled Moth! Marvel as our heroines, Sophie and Lil, don cunning disguises, mingle in high society and munch many cucumber sandwiches to solve this curious case! Applaud their bravery as they follow a trail of terrible secrets that leads straight to London’s most dangerous criminal mastermind, and could put their own lives at risk . . .It will be the most thrilling event of the season!
I’d had The Clockwork Sparrow on my TBR since seeing Katherine Woodfine at Cheltenham Literary Festival with Robin Stevens last year. I picked these books up recently as my ten-year-old niece had read the first and I’d just bought her the second for her birthday, so it gives us something to chat about.
I decided to review together as of course, they’re similar in style and tone and I didn’t have much difference in opinion between them so it made sense.
The main characters all bring something different to the stories and as with books like Nancy Drew, you’ll get swept along in their adventures and scrapes praying for a happy ending! Both books could be read as a standalone but I think it’s best to read in order as although each has their own main mystery, there is an underlying mystery that carries through them both and will continue into the third.
I preferred the Clockwork Sparrow as it was predominantly set in the Sinclair’s store and because as a reader you feel immersed in the store with all its feeling of opulence and richness contrasted with all the ‘below stairs’ hubbub and activity. Whereas Jewelled Moth happens mostly away from the store. Strangely, I noticed similarities between Jewelled Moth and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (having recently read it, it’s quite fresh in my mind). The missing jewel in this book is the Moonbeam Diamond, Wilkie’s being the moonstone, the ladies who have the jewel stolen are of the same age and class standing, both diamonds were supposed to be cursed by some ancient villagers and both books even have characters called Betteredge which is quite an unusual name. The thing was, once I’d decided they were similar I kept looking out for other similarities. Still an enjoyable read though and if you liked the TV series Mr Selfridge these books should delight you.
I also think it’s worth mentioning that both books contain beautiful illustrations throughout which deserve recognition in their own right.
Overall, fun capers to be had and perfect for children and adults alike these books are best served on Sunday afternoons together with tea and buns!
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