By Author / Illustrator

Jean-Claude Mourlevat


Mystery & Detective

Age range(s)



Andersen Press Ltd




Paperback / softback




Winner of the PEN Translates AwardJean-Claude Mourlevat is the 2021 winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial AwardWhen Jefferson the hedgehog goes to his hairdresser's, he's shocked to discover the barber lying dead on the floor. Falsely accused of murder, Jefferson must go on the run with his best friend Gilbert the pig to uncover the real killers. Adventure, dark secrets and a most unlikely series of hair-raising events await Jefferson and his fellow animals as they travel into the Land of the Humans . . .With a cover by Lisa d'Andrea, and inside illustrations by Antoine RonzonTranslated by Ros Schwartz



One morning, Jefferson Ponsonby-Smythe, a young hedgehog fond of order and routine, sets off to the hairdresser's to have his quiff trimmed. To his horror, he finds the dead body of Mr Edgar, the owner of Cut & Dye, and is seen, murder weapon in hand, by a witness who accuses him of the crime. Forced to flee, Jefferson with his best friend, Gilbert, a very happy pig, set off on a Globetrotters tour to the Land of the Humans where they suspect the culprits live.

Jefferson is a very original, entertaining novel with plenty of humour, although it is concerned with a very serious subject. Jefferson is a quirky, endearing character whose nervous disposition is well complemented by the lively and impulsive, Gilbert. Each animal on the tour has a developed personality, each bringing their strengths to the investigation when needed.

There is much prejudice from some towards animals in the Land of the Humans and the story contains some disturbing scenes, necessary to expose the brutality animals are subjected to, but not easy reading. The illustrations are wonderful and add much to the book which has a very satisfying ending!

234 pages / Reviewed by Susan Wilsher, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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