Jo Clarke has been a huge champion of children's literature so it is absolutely wonderful to see her name on the cover of her own fabulous book. Not only that, but 'Libby and the Parisian Puzzle' is a fun, delightful adventure that is light on its feet and packed with mysteries. This is the start of a great new series for fans of Katherine Woodfine and M.G.Leonard.
When Libby's mum sets off for Ecuador for work, Libby has to join an incredible travelling school, joining it in Paris. While the French capital is full of exciting landmarks and scrumptious food, Libby finds herself at the centre of a mystery to solve involving a stolen brooch among other thefts. Her aunt, also headteacher of the school, is accused. With her new friend Connie, can Libby crack the crimes, save her aunt, while also navigating the bustling streets of Paris?
What a great concept to have a series of crime books following a travelling school around the world! Jo Clarke is really onto a winner here, especially considering the success of books such as 'Adventures on Trains' with its similar globetrotting storytelling. Here it is a joy to be immersed in Paris with its famous sites, culture and, of course, the yummy food. Jo Clarke writes with a spring in her step, embellishing the story with details of Paris without overloading on description. She has a brilliant, avid eye for characterisation too. Libby and Connie form a fab duo, but I also love the cast of flamboyant, shifty characters around them, including the mysterious lady in the peacock feather hat!
This is pacy, exciting and just such an enjoyable read. With short chapters and delightful illustrations by Becka Moor, this is a perfect read for younger readers, with mysteries that will leave you guessing until the end.
My only suggestion: please can Libby go to Ecuador! My wife and I worked as teachers in a British school there and it's a truly beautiful country and one worthy of an adventure...
Bravo Jo! I'm looking forward to join Libby in Scotland, my place of birth!