After reading the excellent 'A Kind of Spark' by Elle McNicoll, I was desperate to check out some other Knights Of publications. I'm sooo glad I did because 'High Rise Mystery' by Sharna Jackson, published in 2019, is fabulous!
Nik and Norva live in The Tri, in a high rise block. They've already solved mysteries involving graffiti and balls and other petty crimes, and filed them away. But when the community arts teacher and antiques dealer, Hugo, is mysteriously found dead and their dad is a possible suspect, Nik and Norva need to put all their detective skills to the test to solve the case.
First of all, 'High Rise Mystery' is notable for its distinctive and decidedly fresh voice. The language fizzes with fun and realism, centred on the wonderful interplay between the main protagonists and a diverse cast of high rise residents. Nik and Norva are a truly brilliant detective duo and are just so so real. I've taught inner-city kids like them, and it's about time their lives are represented in this way in a middle-grade book. On top of this, the story itself is expertly crafted and a great who-dunnit for children to guess at and enjoy until the very end. I can really picture this being a TV series and I hope it's picked up because such depictions of black lives and diverse communities need much more exposure in the mainstream.
Energetic, witty, and with a sassy bounce, 'High Rise Mystery' is an absolute joy. It deserves to be in every Upper KS2 and KS3 classroom. I'm going to have to check out its sequel very soon - as well as other Knights Of titles.