Dying to be Famous (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman

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Dying to be Famous (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman by Tanya Landman

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Buy Dying to be Famous (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A very quick and compelling murder mystery for the primary school years, set realistically in the world of theatre. A recommended read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: November 2009
Publisher: Walker
ISBN: 978-1406314625

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Meet Poppy Fields - an inquisitive young lass, keen on exploring her world - in a slightly different way to her geeky, walking-encyclopaedia of a best friend, Graham. So keen is she to explore the phenomenon that is the latest seen-everywhere, snapped-at-all-hours celebrity, she makes the pair of them go to audition for bit parts in the Christmas production of The Wizard of Oz the star is starting to rehearse. Unfortunately for her, she apparently hasn't noticed she's in the third book in a series of young reader murder mysteries, and deaths more unexpected than having a house land on you might just be on the playbill...

This will be an eye-opener for the adult reading their children's books for the first time, without the knowledge of how compelling, intelligently written and subtle a murder mystery for the under twelves can actually be. I certainly had my eyebrows raised at times, thinking there would be no way our author could introduce murder as witnessed by the first person narrator. But it's done in a carefully wrought way - neither underplayed, or gratuitous - just with apparent realism and all due consideration.

There also is quite a lot of realism in the world of this series entry - that of rehearsing professional theatre. From the jokes about the children players and the parts they end up with, to the opinions of the old-timers, and beyond. Sure, there are some times reality is bent for the sake of the story, but on the whole it's spot-on, and one further catch for the target audience, as they use an educative eye to see into the scenario.

And, primarily, of course, there's the thriller side of things, which is very good. The author balances a smallish cast, and red herrings, intrigues, false leads and stronger clues, very well, to such an extent that - although this will not take an adult much over an hour to read - it will still provide a very pleasant puzzle.

The right reader will easily get caught up in this title, and probably the others in the series, if this is an accurate sample. We at the Bookbag have read several other Tanya Landman books, such as The Kraken Snores, a visiting of Greek myths. And certainly with this volume we can applaud a sensible, measured and captivating little mystery puzzle for either gender, done with grit but no cause for parental concern, and a hefty dollop of sprightly and vividly-conveyed action.

I must thank the publishers for sending us a review copy.

We have enjoyed several young thrillers recently, such as Two Tigers on a String by Josh Lacey. A very different-styled adventure set in a different theatreland we likewise recommend is The Betrayal by Mary Hooper.

Buy Dying to be Famous (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dying to be Famous (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Dying to be Famous (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dying to be Famous (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman at Amazon.com.

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