I first encountered the author/actress Emma Kennedy through the comedy podcast As It Occurs To Me. This not exactly (aside: not at all) child-friendly podcast consisted of a series of sketches in which she took part whilst also sharing the odd story from her life (mainly about poo). It was during these podcasts that she mention she was also an author of a series of children’s books and when these cropped up on Amazon at 99p a pop I though it couldn’t hurt to give one a go. And hurt it didn’t, the book was an absolute delight to read from the opening to end, written in a wonderfully tongue in cheek tone, regularly making me laugh out loud and generally making it a chore to put the book down when it came to time to sleep.
The book is set on a small fictional island in the middle of the English Channel that no-one has heard of as it hasn’t been discovered yet and tells the tale of a young orphan girl who wants to grow up to be a detective to try and learn more about her past. She follows the exploits of the islands greatest detective (a Sherlock Holmes type figure) and eventually circumstances get them thrown together whilst he works on a case and she tries to assist him despite being ask not too several times. Throw into the mix an inquisitive and most of the time helpful beagle (the dog is fantastically characterised – you can tell that the author is used to have a dog around) and a short trouble causing bad guy then your in for a treat of a read.
The story moves along at quite a pace and makes a real effort to include details of the investigation into a double murder and theft of a gem stone. This allows for a whole host of extra marvellous characters from Inspector Lemone – the sole police officer on the island, to an opera singing autopsy surgeon, to the official peepers whose job is to monitor people moving from different parts of the island.
The book is full of moments of real marvellous baloney – for example mole hills aren’t actually made by moles but are actually air holes for potholers – but I was also impressed that whenever a new idea or longer word was introduced this was pretty much immediately followed with an explanation of what the word means – and this is done so well you don’t even realised it’s happened half the time.
So the book was an utter delight to read, charming, impossible to put down, and most of all laugh out loud funny. I couldn’t recommend this one highly enough.