Earlier this year I read Fleur Hitchcock's excellent 'The Boy Who Flew' and was delighted to see that she was publishing 'The Clifftoppers' series too. 'The Arrowhead Moor Adventure' is the first and it doesn't disappoint. This is classic, engaging storytelling perfect for autumn rainy days.
Aiden, Chloe, Ava and Josh are cousins who spend their holidays at their grandparents' cottage in the countryside, by moors and beaches and ancient stones. When a mysterious woman nearly runs them over on their bikes, an unexpected investigation begins involving thieves, diamonds and some lost sheep.
There is something reassuring and comforting about 'The Clifftoppers': an enjoyably fast-paced thriller that feels old fashioned, but in a great way. This is the Famous Five (or four) for today; feeling familiar but done very well indeed. It takes a skilled author to write so economically but to embellish a mystery story with pace, humour and atmosphere. Hitchcock does this expertly. Modern technology is done away with - mobile phones have no signal on the moors, characters use phone boxes and the grandparents listen to the radio. All of this makes it feel classic and actually very refreshing. Kids should soak this all up and think: 'Hey, we don't need our gadgets! We just need some bikes, scones and adventure!' Hitchcock depicts childhood as it should be and it feels like a brave thing to do these days!
Fun, pacy and full of adventure, this is traditional storytelling done brilliantly! I look forward to reading the next installment, 'The Fire Bay Adventure', very soon.
Thank you to Nosy Crow for this copy to review.