Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A Laura marlin Mystery:Kidnap in the Caribbean,by Lauren St John reviewed by Lynda Waterhouse

I was inspired to read this book after reading a feature in the Independent newspaper featuring Virginia McKenna and Lauren St John. It mentioned that Lauren had grown up on a wildlife reserve and spoke about Virginia’s amazing organisation – The Born Free Foundation which rescues animals. These were facts I already knew about but my interest was piqued when Virginia went on to say of Lauren ‘She is a typical writer – reserved and quite private – so when she does say something it means a lot.’ This description appealed to me. A ‘typical’ writer these days is perceived as needing to have lots of bells and whistles and loud trumpets attached to them so much so that the real story they are burning to tell can often get lost in the hype. Sadly, so many ‘typical’ children’s writers of series fiction do not exist at all being merely commercial constructs. Lauren St John is a far from a typical writer.
In the article Virginia also goes on to describe an evening spent with Lauren at her cottage- ‘We are both vegetarians so I’ll make soup, quiche, apple crumble, and we’ll sit by the fire and talk about animals.’ I loved the warmth and cosiness of this image as well as the precise details about the food. In this story Lauren is very good at describing the delights of feasting.
As an adult reading the 'Laura Marlin Mystery :Kidnap in the Caribbean', the experience is a similarly warm and cosy experience with the added thrill of watching a James Bond Movie thrown in. The story has a timeless classic feel whilst at the same time not shying away from contemporary subject matter. David Dean’s illustrations enhance the experience.
Laura Marlin is the archetypal orphan sent to live in St Ives with her mysterious uncle. In this story they win a Caribbean cruise and by various plot twists Laura, her friend Tariq and her beloved husky Skye end up aboard the Ocean Empress where they team up with the annoying Jimmy Gannet. The children face real dangers on their voyage and it is their own courage and resourcefulness that saves the day and the lives of lots of rare sea creatures. Children will love and treasure these books as the series progresses.
A Laura Marlin Mystery: Kidnap in the Caribbean by Lauren St John published by Orion Books.
Isbn 978-1-440-0021-4

Photograph by Victoria Brikinshaw



Anonymous said...

I'm on about page 150, and it has been AMAZING so far!

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