'Peril on the Atlantic' is the beginning of a brilliant new mystery series set at sea. This first book is totally absorbing and intricately plotted with secrets and sabotage aplenty on the Queen Mary in 1936. A.M. Howell is the perfect writer for children to create a crime series submerged in glorious historical detail with characters to care about. This is highly recommended for fans of Robin Stevens, M.G Leonard and Emma Carroll. It is also Waterstones Children's Book of the Month for August!
July, 1936. As the Queen Mary sets sail across the Atlantic, Alice can't wait for the summer of adventure that lies ahead. She's excited to explore the huge ship, with its shops, animals and even celebrities on board. But while Alice's sailor father focuses on winning a prestigious race, she witnesses a shocking attack. Alice and her new friend Sonny start to uncover a dark sabotage plot, but what they discover might change both their lives forever...
From the very first page we're introduced to the fabulous Queen Mary and she completely charms and captivates from thereon as a character in her own right. A.M Howell has a deft skill of bringing the ship and its historical details to life without sacrificing the momentum of the plot. I loved reading about the ship's historic race, the celebrities onboard (like Fred Astaire) and the difference between the glitz and glamour of the wealthy passengers and the more humble condition of the lower classes. It reminded me that my great-grandfather had worked on the large passenger ships across to New York after the Second World War (I think on the QEII at one point), and there were stories of him getting up to no good with celebrities!
The attack Alice witnesses is shocking and the threat onboard only increases. Alice herself is intelligent, quick-witted and brave, although perhaps sometimes a little incautious, adding to the sense of peril; a flaw she has to learn from with the help of her new friend Sonny. A.M Howell brilliantly lays the clues to the central mystery: just why was a crew member attacked and what does it mean for the ship's race across the Atlantic? I couldn't help keep guessing - I thought I knew the resolution but then was completely surprised!
'Peril on the Atlantic' is as much about family and friendship as it is about the central crime to solve, and A.M Howell combines all the elements into a shipshape mystery to launch this new series. Full steam ahead for the follow-up!
Thank you to Usborne and Fritha Lindqvist for my proof copy to review. I am so pleased I received my ticket to board!