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Frankly this is her best yet. Absolutely marvellous. With the usual plans and maps to be enjoyed, this time a theatre – superb mystery with wonderful characters. A production of Romeo and Juliette with dark overtones. A must read for those who are fans of the series. For those who enjoy the theatre, this one has added flavour.

They can be read out of order – should you wish, however, in this case, perhaps it is better to be a little traditional. The list below does not include the little vignettes.

  1. Murder Most Unladylike (Blue)
  2. Arsenic for Tea (Lime Green)
  3. First Class Murder (Orange)
  4. Jolly Fowl Play (Yellow)
  5. Mistletoe and Murder (Scarlet)
  6. A Spoonful of Murder (Green)
  7. Cream Buns and Crime (Purple)
  8. Death in the Spotlight (Violet)

I am pleased to confirm that

Robin Stevens

is coming to sign this her latest and back stock of the series at

Waterstones Finchley Road O2 (NW3 6LU)

on Sunday 28th of October 2018

Come and meet Robin Stevens and have a copy of her books signed!


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Published by Penguin

Princesses and pink. Not really me. I’m not really into princesses. It started as a ‘school themed’ book – with a seasoning of princesses, to add another dimension. This, though, has been a fun diversion from my usual – I loved it. By the end, it was more than just a school story with a different flavour. A story to suspend belief – which by the end had dark tones within it. The second volume in the chronicles is out now (Princess in Practice) – so if you enjoy this little piece of literary fun, there’s the second one to enjoy!

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Published by Pushkin.

27th September 2018

I don’t know what it is about Pushkin Press, but they seem to publish the most charming and interesting volumes. This reminds me physically, of my favourite of their books, Meet at the Ark at Eight (Hub), also a slight wonderful volume. If you haven’t read it yet, go out and buy it and read it now. At least get a copy ordered. It won’t take long.

Neither will this slim little volume. Illustrated beautifully by the author, it tells the tale of Tabetha, a mudlark in Londra, who works around the river Themse, and is asked to find a glass, which is of sentimental value, no more. Or so the gentleman insists…

This should be tucked into everyone’s stocking. At just 91 printed pages it is slim, but wonderful. A winter tale to read by a fire on Christmas day. It should become a tradition. Pushkin have bound it – so its a little bulkier than ‘Meet’ and so slightly more expensive (£9.99), it is, however, worth every penny.

I did contact Pushkin and they have promised that if Cornelia should decide to visit the UK – they will get in touch. An author I’d love to have visit Finchley Road O2 – if only so I can tell her directly how much I love her books.

Interestingly both Ulrich Hub and Cornelia Funke are both German. I have some (not a lot) of German ancestry. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy these so much. Maybe its in my blood. Either way. Both should be bought and read over Christmas…

Go out and buy them.


Published by Usborne

This is a MUST buy.

It is superb. A development of the Pied Piper of Hamelyn – full of character, magic, adventure, rats and dragons too!

There are numerous versions of the Pied Piper of Hamelyn – the earliest from around 1300 – Some relate that the Piper returned the children after payment was, at last, paid. Others state that they were taken to drown in a local river. That one child got left behind as it was lame, and couldn’t keep up, that three were – one lame, one blind and the last was deaf. An ancient legend then, with some stature – they think it was probably about the plague or perhaps depicting some sort of emigration, maybe the Children’s Crusades. No-one really knows.

No-one knows either about what happened to the Pied Piper after the events so luridly told. What happened to him? This enlarges, colours and makes a whole new legend to enjoy. It is brilliant and must be read by old and young alike. I don’t care whether you are an adult, or a child – this is a MUST buy. After all some adults are more child-like, and some children are more adult-like. So whatever your age – buy or get someone else to buy you a copy of this brilliant story.

This is the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelyn with meat on – something to really get your teeth into. A ‘proper’ book…

For FOS there are copies (or were a few days ago) – on Sue’s Selection – at Finchley Road O2 – so you can get copies there.

I wish someone had designed a GIF for this book – perhaps someone will. I wouldn’t know how to start. This is taken from The Medievalists web site…

Earliest depiction of the Pied piper

NB – Finished this today (I have been reading four books at once – never wise) – and I am so excited – THERE’S MORE TO COME – this is the start of a series…well at least two…perhaps three….we will have to see! Marvellous!


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Published by Orion Books

I am beginning to have a ‘thing’ about Sarah Moore Fitzgerald. So far I have loved every one I have read.

What is real? A question we often ask small children, in an attempt to curb their often enthusiastic imaginations. We ask if it actually happened. Was it something they saw with their own eyes? All well and good, until you find that just perhaps, what they have seen, which you believe not to be real, actually might be. Who says that we are right to bring these flights of fancy down? As long as they learn the ‘truth’ and what a lie is – what does it matter? Many years ago I knew an elderly lady who informed me that those I love will be waiting for me after I die – by that I mean my non-human friends.

I rather like to think she was right. Who’s to say that she wasn’t? I hope she met all her dogs and cat when she died. She certainly believed it. There is no more reason to disbelieve our meeting people and ‘other animals’ we have loved, after we die, than there is to believe we do. It could be Grandpa was laughing at my attempt to cut bread as thin as he used to do, and perhaps trying to help…we just don’t know.

The loss of anyone can be haunting – sibling, parent, friend, or ‘pet’ (which is such an inadequate word). Recently I have been haunted by Pakka…I keep seeing her out of the corner of my eye, she’s there, and then she’s gone. Who’s to say she isn’t really there. Trying to guide me and young Sakka to a greater understanding. I might think it was my new friend, except the colour is different; Sakka is more toffee than Pakka was, she’s a beautiful rich caramel. Pakka though, was a gorgeous sandy shade. She was my familiar, friend and confident. Intelligent and took no nonsense from anyone. Canine or otherwise. This one, well…she’s young, you know.

This book is about death. Life too. About belief. Hope, families and siblings. It’s about finding out who you are, what you believe is important and how all of that changes.

Its also about younger sisters. I don’t have one of those. I am one. I am the one who asks the impossible questions, the perhaps, a little mad one.

This is another wonderful book from the Fitzgerald stable – another one to disappear into, one that you won’t want to let go.


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Published by Canongate Books

My friend Martina, who sadly no longer works with us, suggested I read this one. Perhaps the third Matt Haig volume I have read. Sadly the copy I bought is now wrinkled and slightly bowed, having fallen in the bath.  I don’t often take books into the bath, for just this reason. If I do, I usually have at least two copies – one for bath-reading, the second for keeping in mint condition to be read with care.

This is a book about humanity. Our quest for happiness and how, fundamentally we get it all wrong. The stuff we keep in our wallets, purses, back pockets, behind the settee, in jars, tins and the like just doesn’t do it. Relationships often do, but we keep looking too far ahead – we don’t realise that the past has gone, the future never arrives. It is now that is important.

Essentially this is about an alien visiting the earth. Not, though, as a tourist.  He is found wandering around the streets of Cambridge, naked, in the guise of Professor Andrew Martin. The real Professor Martin solved one of the great conundrums of mathematics, which would in time have far reaching consequences…not necessarily a good thing…at least in some eyes. This Professor Andrew Martin is here for one purpose only – to destroy all record of this achievement. Including all reference to it, whether on paper, computers or by word of mouth. He is here to murder the professor’s wife, his son, and anyone else who might have gained knowledge of the professor’s discovery.

Thought provoking. Touching and rather wonderful.

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Published by Walker Books

This is simply a book of joy, and absolutely beautifully illustrated. With few, but the right words and stunning illustrations it tells the story of Julian, who at the pool, meets some mermaids. As they go home Julian asks his Nana, if she saw the mermaids.

“I saw them, honey.” and she goes on to say that she’s going to take a bath.

Julian has an idea.


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The pictures are beautifully rendered. Faces accurate and wonderfully expressive. This is a book about being who you want to be. It is subtle and beautiful. Something for every one – it isn’t just about being a mermaid, its about being who you are, whatever that might be – that everyone can be and are unique. A story of non-conformity.

Nanas like Julian’s are, I’m afraid, a rare, but very special type of person. This celebrates them as much as mermaids…



I am so proud. Thank you all: has just beaten last year’s figures: in 2017 it was visited 5,626 times by 4,240 people and I wrote 96 posts. This year, as of now, on the 19th of August there were 5,627 visits and 4,468 guests and I have only written 73 posts – so far!

Just before my birthday too!

Thank you all for visiting, viewing and I hope enjoying!

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Published by Puffin

Raymond Briggs wrote The Snowman – well actually the picture book was published back in 1978 – It was a story without text.

Then Aled Jones sang that song, when it was released as a film in 1982

This though, is a review of Michael Morpurgo’s re-‘writing’ of the book. It will be available as a chapter book with beautiful soft illustrations by Robin Shaw this October.

I’m rather surprised this hasn’t been done before, but there you go. It seems that it is the 40th anniversary of the original book. Michael Morpurgo has written a book that reflects the magic of the original. Though I do remember a scarf being left behind…I must read the original again. The tone is just right for those who enjoy a proper story at bed time and are looking for more than a book of pictures.

A book for Christmas…

Actually, he sang it rather well…looking at it now. Then, it was played everywhere…This rendition was recorded from Top of the Pops…now there’s a name to conjure with.

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Published by Pushkin

My big sister (whom I have mentioned before), would have loved these. Actually she would probably love them now.

A series of books for those who are into the theatre, drama and performance.

Pamela Brown is sadly deceased, however, Pushkin books are reprinting these rather lovely books – and they keep sending me the proofs…I have just finished Maddy Alone, enjoyed The Swish of the Curtain some time ago and yesterday I received a proof of Golden Pavements.

The Swish of the Curtain relates how seven children get together to organise and perform in their own theatre. In the second volume Maddy Alone, the older children have left home and are now attending drama school, leaving Maddy behind. She is disappointed to hear they wouldn’t be returning at the end of term and this precipitates a state of siege – much to her mother’s frustration. The story of what happens when a Maddy finds out about a local legend and she makes a friend is when the story really begins. It is  perhaps a traditional story, but generally better written than many, and when Maddy runs away…

I shall enjoy Golden Pavements, I’m certain and I hope and trust the fourth in the quartet, Blue Door Venture will be sent to me soon too…

These were originally published in the 1940s – they are good, solid stories about things that can happen. No fantasy here…nothing nasty – what I refer to as ‘friendly’ books. They are, I suppose, from another time, maybe more innocent, but none the less the books are a joy.

I’m not sure what I did with my proof of The Swish of the Curtain.I shall have to see if I can find it. Clare is following this blog and may well want to read it…

There is a lovely quote about The Swish of the Curtain allegedly by Dame Maggie Smith, no less –

“I wanted to act before I read this book,” Dame Maggie Smith once said of Pamela Brown’s classic children’s novel The Swish of the Curtain, “and afterwards there was no stopping me.”

Well, after that – this is obviously a ‘must-buy’ series…