No Stone Unturned by Helen Watts

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No Stone Unturned by Helen Watts

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Historical mystery based on some fabulous research and taking in plenty of contemporary talking points - bullying, discrimination, loneliness. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 272 Date: September 2014
Publisher: A&C Black
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1472905407

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Kelly doesn't have any friends at school. People don't like travellers. So she's glad to find a new friend in Ben over the summer holidays. Even Kelly's dog, Tyson, likes Ben. Exploring the disused quarries local to their village of Wilmcote, they find some interesting treasures, including an old boot. So when school starts again and Mr Walker sets a local history project, Kelly decides to find out more about the old quarries, the coming of the railway and the use of Wilmcote limestone in the construction of the Houses of Parliament. Ben offers to help and soon the pair uncover worrying evidence about what really went on all that time ago...

Ooh! No Stone Unturned is a fabulous historical mystery. Did the limestone from Wilmcote end up in the Houses of Parliament? To whom does the boot belong? What happened to Ben's ancestors? Kelly is a stalwart investigator because she is such a curious soul. She's bright and interested and motivated to learn. I really liked her as a central character. And she gets to the truth in the end.

And as a traveller, Kelly has plenty of obstacles to overcome: the reluctance of her family to allow her to carry on at school; the distrust and bullying from her classmates. But perhaps the loneliness is the worst. With no friends at school and the other travellers away, it's no surprise that Kelly quickly grows quite dependent on her new friend Ben. He's her only friend, you see. So she overlooks the strange things about him and concentrates on their shared interest in the mystery of what happened in Wilmcote a hundred and fifty years ago.

So. You have an interesting and fabulously well-researched historical mystery. You have a contemporary story that speaks of bullying, discrimination and loneliness. And you have an interesting and spunky central character. What more could you want?

Like I say: I loved this story. And one of the most fabulous things about it is the author's note at the end. So much of it is true! I shan't say exactly what for fear of spoiling, but I will say that Wilmcote does exist - in case you didn't know and Watts lives there! - local limestone was used for the flooring in the Houses of Parliament, and, if you want to know more, you'll have to read the book. What is so great, though, is that this whole story was conceived from local historical events. As Watts says in her note, who knows what stories readers could uncover in their own local histories? I love that thought. And I loved this book.


One of our favourite historical mysteries is the classic The Owl Service by Alan Garner. You might also enjoy the fabulous Waterslain Angels by Kevin Crossley-Holland.

Buy No Stone Unturned by Helen Watts at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy No Stone Unturned by Helen Watts at

Buy No Stone Unturned by Helen Watts at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy No Stone Unturned by Helen Watts at


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