By Author / Illustrator

M. G. Leonard


Mystery & Detective

Age range(s)



Walker Books Ltd




Paperback / softback




There's a thief in Aves Wood! M.G. Leonard, internationally bestselling author of Twitch, Beetleboy and Adventures on Trains, returns with the third gripping wildlife mystery for birdwatching detectives The Twitchers!  Twitch won the Sainsburys' Children's Book Award for Fiction 2021 and the CRIMEFEST Award for Best Crime Novel for Children 2021. 

When the peregrine falcon nest is raided, Twitch realizes a thief is at work. Horrified, he and the Twitchers set out to catch the dangerous criminal, only to be ensnared in a deadly trap. Can they save themselves and stop the villain before anyone gets hurt?

Clutch is a thrilling spring mystery adventure about friendship, bravery and protecting nature, perfect for readers 9+ and for fans of Robin Stevens, David Baddiel and Jenny Pearson. It can be enjoyed as a stand-alone adventure or read as part of The Twitchers series.

Praise for The Twitchers:  "Leonard knows her audience and the jeopardy comes in flocks ... Find your nest, curl up and enjoy." The Times, Children's Book of the Week on Twitch.  "A twist-laden, thriller-like tale of a bird-mad boy, some bullies and an escaped convict hiding in the nearby woods." Observer on Twitch.  "A skilfully crafted mystery adventure. A clarion call for environmentalists everywhere." Rob Biddulph on Spark.   "A twisty crime drama as well as a persuasive story about friendship and nature." The Sunday Times on Twitch.  "Simply genius." BBC Wildlife Magazine on Twitch. "A winged masterpiece." Maz Evans on Twitch.



In Clutch, avid birdwatcher and nature lover Twitch is devastated when peregrine falcon eggs are stolen from a nest on Passerine Pike. The police are involved, but Twitch and his fellow Twitchers Jack, Ozuru, Ava, Terry, Tara and Tippi are determined to solve the crime themselves. More eggs are stolen, and when a pair of rare wading birds, spoonbills, begin to make a nest near the pond in Aves Wood, the gang realise how important it is to prevent the thief from taking the eggs from there, too. With a fishing competition taking place in the wood, the Twitchers are soon up to their eyes in suspects. Someone will stop at nothing to illegally collect the birds' eggs, and Twitch finds himself accused of a crime he would never commit. The Twitchers must work together to find the thief, clear Twitch's name, and protect the birds they all love.

It is always a treat to read a new Twitcher adventure, and this lovely book does not disappoint! The author skilfully blends adventure, crime, mystery, and nature into an enthralling story which holds the attention of the reader to the very last page. The main theme of the book is friendship; the Twitchers always work together as a team, supporting and helping one another. Twitch and Jack are best friends and, although they disagree over who the egg thief is, they never lose sight of the bond they have between them.

The author gives us a great cast of suspects, and the reader sees the Twitchers striving to narrow them down. The ingenuity they show in setting traps to foil the thief is brilliant - they are much cleverer than the police, who are also on the case!

One of the joys of reading a book in this series is how much factual information the author includes in the story. The reader never feels that they are being force-fed this data, but I felt that I had learned so much by the end of the book - about the birds, their habitats and nesting habits, and also about the crime of egg collecting, and the harm these "eggers" cause to bird populations.

Although this is the third book featuring Twitch and his intrepid gang, it could be read as a stand alone novel. I loved it, it is written beautifully, with characters the reader really cares about. I did not guess who the thief was - the author provides enough twists and turns to keep you guessing the whole way through. The action starts on page one and never flags, and the quirky chapter headings are a delight (and now I know what a cacklefart is, so bravo Ms Leonard!).

I can't wait to see what the future holds for the Twitchers (and their new member) and to learn more about the wonderful wildlife which inspires them all. Who knew that birdwatching could be so exciting!

320 pages / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Something terrible has happened in Aves Wood. The nest of the peregrine falcons has been raided by an egg thief and all the eggs taken and the parent birds driven away. There is an egg thief in town; someone dangerous. Twitch and his friends must try to find out who the thief is and put a stop to them before they destroy more nests and steal more eggs. But this thief is clearly experienced and it is going to take all their ingenuity and bravery to find and catch them.

Clutch is the third book about Twitch and his twitcher friends. Once again there is a mystery to solve and an exciting adventure. The children are by now firm friends and able to look after each other and solve problems together. Whilst I worked out who the egg thief was very quickly (I watch too many crime dramas!), children will be gripped by the mystery and enjoy the twists and turns in the plot.

The combination of bird watching and crime solving is irresistible and I have become much more aware of the birds since reading Twitch, the original story. There is also a strong element of conservation that runs through these books. The marvellous cover by Paddy Donnelly and the maps by Laurissa Jones are the perfect accompaniment to the story, as well as the little bird illustrations at the start of each chapter.

This is an exciting and edge-of-the-seat adventure and I'm sure all Twitch fans will be delighted with this new instalment.

320 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Other titles