Archives for category: Orchard Books

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Published by Orchard Books.

I am in the middle of this – having started it just last night and, as always with Christopher’s books, I am loving it.

This, I hope, is to be the start of a long series of detective novels. Funny, well written and frankly, brilliant.

The Bleakley twins have returned once more to their Aunt and Uncle at Bleakley Manor along with their new friend Oliver Davenport – the Poor Unfortunate, to stay for the Michaelmas break. There they meet up with their cousin Loveday, back from school…

‘But what if a girl doesn’t want to hire a copy for a shilling?’ asked Horatio.

Loveday smiled serenely and sliced the air with her hockey stick. ‘I generally menace them until they do,’ she said. ‘It’s supply and demand. I supply the magazine and then I demand money for it.

The mysteries begin on arrival: The much favoured butler has gone, as has the old footman and the replacements don’t come up to scratch, then there is (of course) a murder…

The characters are eccentric and rather wonderful – as are their descriptions….

‘The specimen on display was hunched at the shoulders and his large eyes seemed to stick out like organ stops…’

The Great Aunt, is in someways perhaps the best supporting character…though I’m not certain…

‘I suppose you must be the Poor Unfortunate.’

‘Yes ,’ replied Master Oliver Davenport.

and a little later…

‘I have written Poor Unfortunates into my books,’ said the Great Aunt .

‘They always die.’

and then…

‘If you call me Auntie again I will write you as a character in my next book and I will make quite certain that you die a slow and painful death.’

A mystery of the old fashioned English sort…unconventional characters, a  a clutch of heroes and a determined heroine a snake, an Indian scorpion and pineapple cubes!

I had forgotten pineapple cubes…used to love them…

For those who enjoy Robin Steven’s books. I hope and trust this new series will have as much success as hers. If this first book is anything to go by – it certainly will.

The cover, I’m afraid, doesn’t ‘do it’ for me…however, as you know, you shouldn’t judge any book by its cover…certainly not this one.

trl-cover-72dpiPublished by Orchard Books

Home alone. Well not quite alone. Father gone, and mother missing. Things are complicated, which is an understatement. Wren is 9 going on 10 and sees way too much. Lucille, has seen too much, has heard way too much, is doing to much and is trying to keep everything together. Absolutely everything, without support, and with the vague hope that perhaps her mother might just ring, tonight. Or maybe tomorrow, but definitely when it’s Wren’s birthday. Emotionally charged – a book of survival…

Published by Orchard Books / ISBN 9781408314555

Osbert is the ultimate anti-hero from Schwartzgarten. This is not a book for teachers to read. It might give them nightmares.

So far there are three Schwartzgarten volumes: Osbert, The Woebegone Twins, and The Lily-Livered Prince. All have superb Chris Riddell covers that belie the devilment contained within.

Osbert, takes revenge on his school teachers and not in the usual schoolboy style. They say Christopher William Hill is like Roahl Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / Matilda etc), perhaps he is, but somehow these seem

darker and

more twisted.