Friday, 30 September 2016

CATS AND CURSES, by Elen Caldecott. Reviewed by Saviour Pirotta

Title: Cats and Curses [The Marsh Road Mysteries, Book 4]
Author: Elen Caldecott
Published by Bloomsbury
Format p/b and ebook
Publication date: 11th August 2016

I am a big fan of the Marsh Road Mysteries, and of Elen Caldecott's books in general, which are brilliant page turners that weld Enid Blyton and Malcolm Saville's sense of mystery with twenty first century sensibilities and values.

This is the fourth book in the series and the five members of the crime-busting gang are back for another adventure. Meet Piotr, Andrew, Flora and the beyond-cool Sylvie.  Andrew's mum is recovering from the shock of being involved in a fire and ready to go back to work, helping out at the local junk shop. But things don't go according to plan. On her first day, she takes delivery of a mysterious package - a mummified Egyptian cat. The gruesome artefact seems to have put a curse on the shop. Strange things start happening: glass objects shatter in locked cabinets, eerie shadows appear. It has an adverse effect on Andrew's mum, and her friend the junk shop owner.

The fab five suspected human intervention and they are soon uncovering clues and tailing suspects, each member of the gang bringing their own unique skill to the investigation. The climax, in a builder's yard is a fantastic mis-en-scene and the resolution truly satisfying.

It's not just the story that makes this book a joy to read, it's the sense of friendship the characters have for one another, and the celebration of family in its various guises. The scene where Andrew gives his mum a special hairdo to cheer her up is a gem. A highly recommended read.

Saviour Pirotta
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Twitter: @spirotta


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