Curse of the Werewolf Boy (Maudlin Towers) by Chris Priestley
|Curse of the Werewolf Boy by Chris Priestley|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Creepy detectivating from the master of Gothic, Chris Priestley. Great fun, highly imaginative. One for fans of Lemony Snickett|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: October 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
Maudlin Towers has a school newsletter out. It contains an indignant notice about an Offending Item:
It has come to our attention that a renegade author by the name of Chris Priestley has written a COMPLETELY FICTITIOUS AND WILDLY INACCURATE account of life here at Maudlin Towers for the Not Particularly Bright Sons of the Not Especially Wealthy. This is in NO WAY sanctioned by the school and should be AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS.
Teehee. I love Chris Priestley so I didn't need any prodding to get stuck in to Curse of the Werewolf Boy but I couldn't let a review pass without reference to possibly my favourite publicity accoutrement to a review copy, ever ever ever. Thank you Chris and Bloomsbury. I shall keep it with the book.
I don't want to give it all away but the gist is this: Mildew and Sponge, our heroes, think their school, Maudlin Towers, is pretty rubbish. Even so, when a dreadful criminal steals the School Spoon and the headmaster threatens the most terrible consequences, they set out to solve the crime. Unfortunately for Mildew and Sponge, detecting isn't as easy as they thought - especially when there are ghosts in the attic, a history teacher with a time machine, and a maniacal crew of Vikings with a werewolf obsession...
... detectivating is hard.
If you are old like me, you will recall Nigel Molesworth of St Custard's as brought to us by Geoffrey Willans and Roger Searle. Curse of the Werewolf Boy is funny like that. But Gothic. I laughed all the way through, sometimes too loudly, I fear. But Priestley is the king of Gothic in children's literature and so this isn't a straight but funny boarding school story: it's a magical one with all sorts of creepy goings-on attached to the slapstick. The spookiness is entertaining rather than scary but it is certainly there.
Every character is a delight, from Mildew and Sponge, our central detectivators, through to the supporting cast with names such as Footstool and Flintlock. My review copy is missing illustrations but I'm betting they'll be brilliant. The plot moves apace with plenty of twists and turns and every single page has some diabolically clever daftery within.
A new middle grade series from Chris Priestley? What's not to like? Of course, I loved it as inventive, subversive and a fabulous read. Roll on, book two.
If you like the look of Curse of the Werewolf Boy, you might also enjoy Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Night Wolf by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. And of course, don't forget Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by the man himself!
You can read more book reviews or buy Curse of the Werewolf Boy (Maudlin Towers) by Chris Priestley at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Curse of the Werewolf Boy (Maudlin Towers) by Chris Priestley at Amazon.com.
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