The Case of the Missing Moonstone

Jordan Stratford, illus. by Kelly Murphy. Knopf, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-385-75440-8
This smart and witty first book in the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency mystery series features celebrated figures Ada Lovelace, considered the world’s first computer programmer, and Mary Shelley, credited with creating the science fiction genre, as young detectives-in-training. Although Stratford (who raised more than $90,000 on Kickstarter to publish the series, prior to its acquisition) admits he’s taken liberties with some facts and dates, he vividly recreates the social and economic milieu of 1826 England through the girls’ eyes. Lady Ada, 11, is an awkward but brilliant mathematician, while Mary, 14, is socially adept and loves the romantic, adventurous side of life. When the girls come across newspaper pieces about crime, they resolve form a “secret constabulary” to catch criminals. As they use quick thinking, book smarts, and social know-how to find a stolen gemstone with the help (willing and unwilling) of their tutor, Peebs (Percy Bysshe Shelley), and travelmate (a young Charles Dickens), they also navigate the difficult terrain of despair and injustice. Skilled b&w illustrations and comical narration and dialogue will charm readers thoroughly. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Heather Schroder, Compass Talent Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/20/2014
Release date: 01/06/2015
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 210 pages - 978-1-62231-424-9
Library Binding - 240 pages - 978-0-385-75441-5
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-385-75443-9
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-9448-3
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