‘The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow,by Katherine

‘You are cordially invited to attend the grand opening of Sinclair’s Department Store.’

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This is the first in a brilliant series of mystery books set around the magnificent Sinclair’s Department Store.

To enter Sinclair’s is to enter a world of perfumed air, bonbons, elegant clothes and murder!

Just before the grand opening of London’s newest hotspot, the priceless Clockwork Sparrow is stolen from a display of precious gems during a daring robbery.

Outcast shopgirl (and the heroine of this piece), Miss Sophie Taylor and her newfound friend, Miss Lilian Rose, set about breaking codes (and social guidelines) as they race to identify the mysterious Baron before disaster befalls Sinclair’s splendid opening party.

As soon as I read the opening pages, I was sucked into the outwardly gentile world of  Edwardian London. The attention to detail allowed me to picture myself right there alongside Sophie as she travelled on the omnibus and through the streets we know so well.

I loved that Sophie didn’t conform to society’s expectations of how a nice young lady ought to behave and was making her own way in the world after losing the family fortune. She had real pluck and spirit throughout the story.

Sinclair’s Department Store was beautifully described and reminds me of some of the great department stores still in London today. The Store is a living, breathing place full of hidden rooms and dark secrets, all carefully hidden behind silk wallpaper and fragranced air. A truly decadent and opulent palace – I would love to visit it!

Another fun detail were the simply charming illustrated hat guides at the beginnings of some of the chapters. Now I’ve never been one to wear hats as I can never find one that fits properly, however I am prepared to bet that one of Sinclair’s shopgirls could have found me something rather elegant.

Full of adventure and mystery, this book would be perfect for fans of Enid Blyton, Robin Stevens or Lyn Gardner.

There are two other books in this series, the third being released in February this year.

Right, I’ve just got time to read ‘The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth’ before the next one’s out.

Library Girl.

 

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