Ruby Redfort: Catch Your Death by Lauren Child

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Ruby Redfort: Catch Your Death by Lauren Child

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Thirteen-year-old Ruby has to do more than rely on book knowledge in this, her third adventure as an undercover spy. In fact, if she wants to survive, she's going to have to follow her nose!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 528 Date: October 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780007334100

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It's the life thousands of young girls dream of: kindly but improbably vague parents who rarely (if ever) ask what you're up to, a completely trustworthy best friend who would die rather than betray your secrets, and, of course, a place in the top-secret spy agency which just happens to be situated below your town. Oh, and a few super-cool spy devices to get you out of trouble, of course. What more could a girl ask for?

Unfortunately, even in a situation as enviable as Ruby's, things don't always go to plan. In this, the third book in the series, Ruby is in training for a survival test out in the wilderness. And when they say survival, they really mean just that. Failure on this test could well mean death, which is a lot of pressure when you're only thirteen years old. And although our seriously brainy heroine knows all the theories about which mushrooms should be avoided, for example, and has proved herself to be quick-witted and resourceful in the past, her coach doesn't rate her chances. She's studied the wilderness, sure, but she doesn't feel it instinctively. And that's the quality which will decide her fate. Add to that a puzzling spate of reports of wild animals roaming the pristine streets and manicured lawns of Twinford, some curious thefts and some intriguing perfumes, and you have all the elements in place for an amusing and rip-roaring adventure teeming with heartless villains and deadly perils of various flavours.

This book, like the previous two, isn't merely a quick dash from danger to danger, however: it demands more of its readers and will appeal to people who enjoy sitting down with a pen and paper to work out the clues rather than be spoon-fed the answers. Ruby is a gifted code-breaker, and she and her best friend Clancy often communicate by means of elaborate codes which readers are allowed to try for themselves before the answers are provided. There are helpful extracts from the Spectrum spy handbooks to study, and a whole section on how to use chemistry to communicate with other people. And the hardback edition even includes a scratch and sniff advert, the importance of which will be revealed as the story progresses. This is a fun read which skilfully combines action and information, and it will definitely appeal to readers who love using their brains and thinking things out for themselves. Who knows: maybe the young people who enjoy reading these books today are the secret agents of tomorrow?

There are good books galore out there for young fans of crime fiction and thrillers. Contemporary stories include the excellent Laura Marlin Mysteries: Kentucky Thriller by Lauren St John, and if you'd like a historical background to your sleuthing, then Young Sherlock Holmes: Fire Storm by Andrew Lane and A Slightly Jones Mystery: The Case of the Hidden City by Joan Lennon will keep your little grey cells ticking over. We've also enjoyed Blink and You Die (Ruby Redfort Book 6) by Lauren Child.

Lauren Child's Ruby Redford Books in Chronological Order

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Buy Ruby Redfort: Catch Your Death by Lauren Child at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ruby Redfort: Catch Your Death by Lauren Child at


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