|The Painted Dragon (The Sinclair's Mysteries) by Katherine Woodfine|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: All the glamour and luxury of Edwardian London can be yours (at a price) at the new Sinclair's Department Store. But beware - danger and menace lurk behind those fine satins and silks!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: February 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
Ornate hats, the best cigars, fine foods and delicate perfumes – Mr Sinclair offers it all in his wondrous new department store, a marvel never before seen on the streets of London. Comfort, refinement and luxury abound, with smoking rooms, tea rooms and even an art gallery to excite and intrigue the haut monde as they examine the merchandise and chatter their days away. But beneath the wealth lies something more sinister, and once again Sophie and Lil find themselves solving a complicated and multi-layered mystery.
Detective stories can easily become formulaic in the hands of a lesser writer. But Ms Woodfine knows her stuff, and each book in this unmissable series brings in new characters and new settings. Yes, the theft of a painting loaned to the store by no less a personage than His Majesty the King occurs once again at Sinclair's, reminding us of the burglary which was the central theme of the first book, but much of the action this time takes place at the Spencer Institute of Fine Art, where Leo has just started studying despite the opposition of her family. We see events and mysteries through her eyes as well as through those of more familiar friends, and she even finds herself working side by side with a certain Jack, who just happens to be the brother of Lil (and, she tries not to notice, is equally good-looking!).
Another way in which this series stands out from the crowd is the fact that the characters age and change. In the first book we met Sophie not long after the death of her father: alone in the world, with no particular talents – or so she thought – she was grateful for the chance to sell hats at Sinclair's, a job which earned her barely enough to pay for her seedy bedsit. And Lil – astonishingly beautiful, vivacious Lil – may have had dreams of being an actress, but had to make do with modelling dresses for rich women and eager debutantes. But look at them now! Sophie may still be in millinery, but at least the grateful Mr Sinclair is giving her a decent wage, and Lil has her first important role at the theatre. Billy, that unwilling junior porter, is now thoroughly happy working in the office, and thanks to Joe's gift for handling animals, he too has a job in the stables. Everyone is doing so well, but Sophie misses the old companionship and secretly wishes they all had more time together. No sooner said than done – the famous Green Dragon by Caselli disappears from the walls of the new gallery, and once again the hunt is on, with daring break-ins, a shadowy villain and a close brush with death for more than one of the group. Funny, scary, heart-stopping stuff – do not, under any circumstances, miss it!
Enjoy rip-roaring tales of mystery, adventure and derring-do? Like to see how quickly you can spot the clues and uncover the crooks? While you're waiting for the next instalment, go back to the beginning and join our intrepid crew from Sinclair's in The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow. Equally good are the Wells and Wong mysteries, Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens and the sequels Arsenic For Tea and Jolly Foul Play. And if it's short stories you're after, these two excellent authors and a bunch of their friends have just the thing – Mystery and Mayhem by The Crime Club. Deliciously dangerous!
You can read more book reviews or buy The Painted Dragon (The Sinclair's Mysteries) by Katherine Woodfine at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Painted Dragon (The Sinclair's Mysteries) by Katherine Woodfine at Amazon.com.
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