Walker Books Australia
New Zealand RRP:$17.99
I love a great mystery, and I especially like that some of our authors will pitch this popular genre to our younger readers. This is the second Penny Dreadful from Allison Rushby and I can already see a growing fanbase for this series. We know Penny is living with her (somewhat eccentric) author Aunt Harriet, in the unexplained absence of her parents. We also know that Aunt Harriet’s so-called publisher is a very unscrupulous, slippery individual, aptly named Uriel Crowley. What we don’t exactly know just yet is the full extent of Crowley’s machinations behind both Penny’s absent parents and his perfidious dealings around Aunt Harriet’s livelihood. This newest episode sees Penny and her aunt visiting a relative named Sir Fotherfill, in order for Aunt Harriet to be fully inspired by his famous hedge. There is however, some strange stories circulating about the hedge – and disappearing servants. Penny is too canny to be taken in by nonsense about maze hedges that ‘eat’ people so goes about her investigations, in her own quiet way, with the help of some new friends to uncover the truth.
When I reviewed the first in this new series, I pointed out that this is very like Enola Holmes or Rose Ravensthorpe for a younger audience, and that is exactly the vibe of these stories.
Younger readers who are keen for a mystery and the chance of spotting the villain in the piece, will love these and the resilience and ingenuity of Penny is very engaging. How special is it that within the space of a week I am able to review two books from the talented Rushby family? – and rightly, we are very proud of this talent right here in Brisbane!! This is a series that is supremely suited to your readers who are moving beyond the really easy chapter books and looking for something with a little more ‘meat’. Highly recommended for readers from around 8 years upwards.