The Littlest Detective in London by Suzy Brownlee

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The Littlest Detective in London by Suzy Brownlee

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Karen Inskip-Hayward
Reviewed by Karen Inskip-Hayward
Summary: A good, but slightly annoying, read for young girls.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 196 Date: April 2009
Publisher: Prospera Publishing
ISBN: 978-0956122209

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The Littlest Detective in London is the first in this series of children's books by Suzy Brownlee and will soon be followed by the continuing story of Clementine Cordelia Bird's exploits in Paris. The books are aimed at young girls, aged between around eight and twelve.

Clemmy (as she is known) is nine years old, but looks younger, due to her being rather small. However, she makes up for this by being brave and inventive. We learn early on that her mother disappeared in mysterious circumstances and the books have the underlying theme of Clemmy trying to find her mum again.

She lives alone with her kindly father Horatio and when he is working or busy, Clemmy is looked after by Mrs. Mackleberry (known as Mrs. Mac), an elderly woman with an incredible appetite and an obsession with food. Despite her apparent innocence, it soon transpires that Mrs. Mac is a retired spy and part of a network of retired spies in London.

Their arch enemy is the Commonov family. The head of the family, Vladimir, is imprisoned, but his fourteen-year-old daughter Natasha is trying to prove his innocence. She is in London and on a mission. Soon, her path will cross with little Clemmy…

The novel is 196 pages long, so a good size for a child just getting used to reading longer books. It is split into chapters and there are some black and white illustrations to break up the text as well. It is a lovely looking book, with a photo of Clemmy on the front and Natasha on the back, which would encourage girls to pick up this book to find out more about it.

The story itself is a fairly predictable run-around, good vs. evil and low level threat. I think young readers would enjoy it, although teenagers may find it a bit dull at times. As an adult, I found it an easy read (of course) but it held my interest enough and I think my thirteen-year-old daughter will enjoy it.

I did find one aspect of the book to be rather irritating though and that was the use of racial stereotypes. The baddies are obviously Russian (the names and the use of da for yes give it away!), which is very Cold War! The nationality given for the Commonovs is the fictional Slakistanian and this annoyed me too.

Finally, the Japanese policeman nicknamed Origami Pete is annoyingly stereotypical, bowing everywhere and being unable to say the letter 'r' which becomes an 'l' instead. I had hoped modern novels would have found a better way to describe these characters without bringing out the kind of stereotypes you might expect to see in a 1970s British sitcom!

Apart from this criticism, the book is okay and I do think young girls would enjoy reading it. It should also hopefully encourage them to read, as they might want to follow Clemmy's story and read the next books in The Littlest Detective series.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might enjoy Keeping Secrets by P J Denton.

Buy The Littlest Detective in London by Suzy Brownlee at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Littlest Detective in London by Suzy Brownlee at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Littlest Detective in London by Suzy Brownlee at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Littlest Detective in London by Suzy Brownlee at Amazon.com.

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