The Chocolate Factory Ghost (The Dundoodle Mysteries) by David O'Connell
|The Chocolate Factory Ghost (The Dundoodle Mysteries) by David O'Connell|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Lively and entertaining quest story featuring magic, dragons, and lots and lots of sweets. Great pace, relatable characters and a wonderful Scottish flavour.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 208||Date: April 2018|
|External links: Author's website|
My review copy of The Chocolate Factory Ghost came complete with a special bar of McBudge Fudge. I ate it. It was delicious. Thank you, Bloomsbury. Could you publish more books about sweeties, please?!
Archie McBudge is sitting in the of Honeystone Hall with his mother. And a lawyer called Mr Tatters has some important information for Archie. A great uncle he has never heard of has died and Archie is his sole heir. This means that Honeystone Hall now belongs to Archie. But that isn't all - this young boy is now sole owner of Scotland's premier sweets giant: McBudge's Fudge and Confectionery Company...
... but there's a problem. The secret ingredient for McBudge fudge, the one that makes it more delicious than any other fudge, is so secret that only Archie's great uncle knew what it is and where to find it. Iif it can't be located before stock runs out, the fudge factory is at risk. What's more, Archie has been set a series of tests by his late relative and he must solve six clues to prove that he is a worthy heir. Hovering in the background is Mrs Puddingham-Pye and her two children, who will inherit everything if anything happens to Archie. Time is of the essence but can Archie save the day (and his inheritance)?
Awww. The Chocolate Factory Ghost is such a good-hearted story. It's told in a straightforward and pacy way - O'Connell gets straight into the narrative and doesn't slow down at all. But it's also deceptively clever. There's a lot going on and many plot strands to wrap up, which happens seamlessly. Humour pervades every page, with jokes appearing at the perfect place and with fabulous timing. I loved the nod to Harry Potter with the title of one of the books in the Honeystone Hall library - Scrumtastic Feasts and And Where to Find Them. There are so many things to make you giggle in this story and if you lose concentration for even a minute, you'll probably miss one. And the whole thing has a wonderfully Scottish flavour, from names to landscape. It's a pleasure to read.
The mystery is well handled with plenty to guess at as Archie, together with his new friends Fliss and Billy, follow the clues in the test with real commitment. Of course, as you may have guessed, success in this quest may solve other problems too, but it will take the reader a little while to work out exactly how. Archie is a great central character. He's determined and intelligent and he works well with others, forming strong friendships with both Fliss and Billy.
The Chocolate Factory Ghost is a great choice for children who have moved on from simple chapter books and are looking for something a bit more challenging. It moves along at a smart pace and engages the reader in trying to solve the mystery before the reveal. It has some genuinely funny jokes and characters you can root for. And of course, there are lots and lots - and lots! - of sweets. What more could you want...
... apart from another bar of McBudge fudge, obviously.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Chocolate Factory Ghost (The Dundoodle Mysteries) by David O'Connell at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Chocolate Factory Ghost (The Dundoodle Mysteries) by David O'Connell at Amazon.com.
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