Kitty Slade: Fire and Roses by Fiona Dunbar

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Kitty Slade: Fire and Roses by Fiona Dunbar

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ali Baker
Reviewed by Ali Baker
Summary: Kitty Slade can see ghosts. Visiting family friends, Kitty discovers that their home is haunted by the ghost of an ancestor who died in a fire while under a curse. Can Kitty solve a puzzle and break the curse? And what has the mystery to do with the famous local site, the Hellfire Caves?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Orchard Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1408309292

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In the second in the Kitty Slade series, Kitty lives with her Greek grandmother (Maro) who home educates Kitty, her brother Sam and sister Flossie. Kitty has a rare condition: she can see ghosts. On a trip to Oxenden to stay with Maro's friends, Kitty experiences some strange Poltergeist-type phenomena, and discovers that the family of Sir Ambrose Vyner (Maro's friends Dinky, Charlie and their children Louis and Emily) are under a curse.

There are some genuinely chilling moments- the ghost Sukie, who was tricked into entering the Hellfire Caves, then killed by some local boys throwing a stone at her head, I found especially so. The troublesome spirit of John Wilkes, who Kitty decides is not trapped on the mortal plane, but just enjoys trouble-making, however, is great fun. The relationships between the children were believable: the love and loyalty between siblings, but also the annoyance and antagonism in the relationship, and also feeling the odd one out when your siblings make friends and you don't.

Kitty's grandmother is a lovely character; it is great to see some diversity occuring naturally in children's fiction, without it being the focus of a problem novel. There is a glossary for her Greek phrases at the back of the book. This book is engagingly written in the first person, including extracts from Kitty's Ghost Blog. In an interview in the back of the book, Fiona Dunbar says that she intended to write a story similar to the Famous Five, incorporating places that she has visited on holiday; I feel she has succeeded to an extent, although Sam and Flossie aren't very involved in the mystery-solving, so to me it feels more like the Girl Detective books I read as a child - a younger Nancy Drew, maybe? I'd recommend this book to confident readers of 10+, and it is likely to appeal particularly to girls.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. We also have a review of Kitty Slade: Fire and Roses by Fiona Dunbar.

If you enjoy the mystery in this book, then you may like Eoin Colfer’s Half Moon Investigations. If you liked the supernatural aspects, then The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman may suit you. For more by Fiona Dunbar, try Tiger Lilies or Divine Freaks, the first in the Kitty Slade series.

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Buy Kitty Slade: Fire and Roses by Fiona Dunbar at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Kitty Slade: Fire and Roses by Fiona Dunbar at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Kitty Slade: Fire and Roses by Fiona Dunbar at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Kitty Slade: Fire and Roses by Fiona Dunbar at


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