Hide and Seek: A Bletchley Park Mystery

Hide and Seek: A Bletchley Park Mystery

By Author / Illustrator

Rhian Tracey


Historical Fiction

Age range(s)



Piccadilly Press




Paperback / softback




A thrilling mystery adventure based on true historical events, from the author of I, Spy: A Bletchley Park Mystery.

Before the war starts, Ned is resigned to a future working in the family funeral parlour. Then the covert operations at Bletchley Park begin and his life is transformed.  Ned and his mother leave Bletchley Park on a vital wartime mission into the remote Welsh countryside. Their task: to protect the priceless artwork that is being stored in a slate mine in the village of Manod. As long as its whereabouts are secret, they'll keep the national treasures out of the hands of the enemy.

But when it appears that someone in the village is trying to expose the truth, suspicion turns to the newcomers - Ned, his mother, and a young Jewish refugee, Anni. Can Ned, Anni and their friend Harri prove their loyalty to the mission and keep the secret safe?

A gripping wartime story, perfect for fans of Phil Earle, Robin Stevens, Lesley Parr and Hilary McKay.



Hide and Seek follows on from Rhian Tracey's I Spy: A Bletchley Park Mystery but is a separate historical adventure that can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

This time, Ned and his mother travel to Manod in Wales to continue their secret war work of keeping precious artwork out of the enemy's hands. Their task is to protect these priceless National Gallery paintings by storing them in a slate quarry mine in the village. Their location must remain a secret. However, word of the top-secret mission somehow reaches the newspapers. The local villagers are now placed in danger and suspicion falls on the latest arrivals, Ned and his mother, who must prove their loyalty.

This is an interesting Second World War story set in 1942. It is full of snippets of historical knowledge and would be perfect for Key Stage Two readers. I really enjoyed following Ned on his travels. He is relieved to escape a future of working with his father, in the family funeral parlour, when his mother takes him with her on a train to Manod to help her with her secret war work. They are both then put up in a farm house which is also home to a young Jewish refugee, Anni, who is a kind and caring character. 

I was struck by the resourcefulness and resilience of the children involved in this mission. They travelled alone across the country by train when all signposting of destinations had been removed. This was a thrilling adventure where they did not know who to trust and had to rely upon each other. A great wartime story that will appeal to fans of Phil Earle.

288 pages / Reviewed by Clair Bossons, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 9+


For Ned, the outbreak of the Second World War and the expansion of undercover operations at Bletchley Park have offered an unexpected escape from a dismal future working in his father's funeral parlour. Suddenly, he and his mother are being sent off to Wales as part of the covert mission to keep the National Gallery collection of art safe in the underground caverns of a disused mine at Manod, in North Wales (a real-life event, of course).

Ned knows only too well how important it is to keep the operation secret, so he is horrified when a leak to the press puts the whole enterprise at risk. He is even more horrified when he realises suspicion may be falling on him and his mother. Not only their jobs and their safety lie in jeopardy, but also their newfound freedom from his overbearing father. When his mother disappears, Ned is forced to act decisively and alone. Will the help of friends old and new be enough to save the day without giving the game away?

Hide and Seek is the second in the Bletchley Park Mystery series. One of its great strengths, like I, Spy before it, is the way that the author weaves intriguing real-life historical details into the fabric of an exciting story that has the straightforward appeal of a classic adventure. The intricate plot has plenty of finger-tingling surprises to keep you reading. The focus on art and music is truly refreshing: it would be a great springboard for introducing the paintings of Turner, Rembrandt or Gwen John as well as the little-known suffragette artist, Lily Delissa Joseph and the pianist, Myra Hess.

The effort to bring in all the characters from I Spy meant that some of the coincidences felt a little stretched and that reading the series in order might be advisable. Nevertheless, using and recommending it alongside a project on the Second World War would add some real depth and texture to any lessons on the home front and it would also work alongside art lessons on any of the 'old masters'. Definitely one for the school library.

288 pages / Reviewed by Louisa Farrow, teacher 

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Other titles