The Rose of Africa (Baker Street Mysteries) by Tim Pigott-Smith

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The Rose of Africa (Baker Street Mysteries) by Tim Pigott-Smith

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Buy The Rose of Africa (Baker Street Mysteries) by Tim Pigott-Smith at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A wonderful mystery story set in Sherlock Holmes' world, with the Baker Street Irregulars showing what they've learned from the master. Confident readers will lap it up, and their Doyle-loving parents might just snaffle it for a quick read too.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: August 2009
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340960059

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Hot on the heels of their last mystery, the Baker Street Irregulars (children who help out Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson) are off on another adventure. Potts' uncle is accused of murder and stealing the famous Rose of Africa diamond, but the Irregulars smell a rat and set about trying to prove their friend's uncle's innocence.

I loved the Sherlock Holmes stories in my teens and Tim Pigott-Smith's novels capture the atmosphere and adventure, but for a younger audience. I'd have lapped up his Baker Street Mysteries when I was a tween, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I enjoy them on their own merits now I'm much older too. The foggy streets of Victorian London are here in all their dingy glory. The familiar characters of Watson, Lestrade, and a fleeting cameo by Holmes, help set the scene, but it's the Irregulars themselves who are the stars of the show. They're a wonderful mix of urchins and scamps, but they've learned from the master and are methodical and hard-working too.

The mystery is perfectly paced, with clues, shadowy characters and an unravelling plot being woven together to create a superb whole. The solution is gently revealed, rather than dangling any infuriating red herrings in front of you, or having it all laid out on a plate. It's ideal for the young audience, and creates a real feel that you're solving the mystery along with the Irregulars. Tim Pigott-Smith's writing is engaging and dramatic, yet clear and accessible. The book's length makes it suited for slightly older confident readers or even mystery-loving teens, but there's nothing that really excludes any age group.

'Series' can often be a dirty word in children's books, but I can't wait to read more of the Baker Street Mysteries series. There's a varied and intriguing cast of characters, fantastic atmosphere, dramatic plots. They're just superb page turners that will, no doubt, lead on to reading Conan Doyle himself. Highly recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Fans of historical mysteries will love Orphan of the Sun by Gill Harvey - it's set in Ancient Egypt. If you can't get enough of the Victorian atmosphere, then check out The Doomsday Machine: Another Astounding Adventure of Horatio Lyle by Catherine Webb and Joe Rat by Mark Barratt.

Buy The Rose of Africa (Baker Street Mysteries) by Tim Pigott-Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Rose of Africa (Baker Street Mysteries) by Tim Pigott-Smith at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Rose of Africa (Baker Street Mysteries) by Tim Pigott-Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Rose of Africa (Baker Street Mysteries) by Tim Pigott-Smith at Amazon.com.

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