Mysteries at Sea: Peril on the Atlantic

Mysteries at Sea: Peril on the Atlantic

By Author / Illustrator

A.M. Howell


Mystery & Detective

Age range(s)



Usborne Publishing Ltd




Paperback / softback




A twisty and heart-pounding mystery at sea, from award-winning A.M. Howell.   July, 1936. As the Queen Mary sets sail across the Atlantic, Alice can't wait for the summer of adventure that lies ahead. She's excited to explore the huge ship, with its shops, animals and even celebrities on board.  But while Alice's sailor father focuses on winning a prestigious race, she witnesses a shocking attack.

Alice and her new friend Sonny start to uncover a dark sabotage plot, and as they investigate gold bars, anonymous notes and lost silk gloves, secrets in their own lives come to the surface. When fog threatens the boat's journey, and dangerous enemies show themselves, Alice and Sonny are in their own race to solve all the mysteries unfolding. But what they discover might change both their lives forever...

Find Out More from author AM Howell

Praise for A.M. Howell: "An exquisitely plotted nautical adventure, packed with mystery and derring-do." Judith Eagle, author of The Accidental Stowaway.  Winner of the Mal Peet Children's Award & a Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week. "An exquisitely plotted nautical adventure, packed with mystery and derring-do." Judith Eagle, author of The Accidental Stowaway.   "Howell is a hypnotically readable writer, who keeps the pulse racing, while allowing every character slowly to unravel." The Telegraph.  "Fans of Emma Carroll will adore this historical tale of derring-do and righted wrongs." The Times.  "Atmospheric, full of period detail, and most importantly, thrilling." The i.



12-year-old Alice Townsend is looking forward to the most exciting summer of her life. Her father is the Staff Captain on board the luxury ship Queen Mary, and Alice is joining him on a voyage across the Atlantic to New York. The ship's crew are aiming to cross the ocean in the fastest time to beat the current holder of the record, the Sapphire.

Once the ship sets sail, Alice begins to explore the enormous ship with its swimming pool, shops and celebrity passengers. But then she witnesses a terrible attack which leaves one of the crew members, Joseph, fighting for his life, and she is plunged into an exciting and dangerous adventure. With the help of fellow passengers Sonny and Miriam, and crew member Charlie, Alice investigates a plot to prevent the Queen Mary from winning the race. Alice also discovers that her father may not have told her the whole truth about her mother's death, and realises that almost everyone on board is keeping secrets of one sort or another.

Mysteries at Sea: Peril on the Atlantic is a fast-paced, beautifully written story, with a great cast of characters. Alice is brave and principled; she is determined to seek justice for Joseph and to prevent the sabotage of the cross-Atlantic race. Sonny is thoughtful and sensible, but steps up to help and protect his friends when necessary. Miriam is a Jewish girl; she and her family have fled Germany leaving everything behind them in order to escape from the persecution instigated by Adolf Hitler. Charlie, the ship's bell boy, is an invaluable help, often putting his job at risk in order to help his new friends in their endeavours.

There are some great villains, and the action never flags. The clever inclusion of a detailed diagram of the ship at the start of the book means that the reader can follow Alice and her friends as they race about the ship in search of clues and evidence. The climax of the story takes place in the hot, noisy engine room of the Queen Mary, where it seems the villains may actually get away with their evil plot; however, each child plays their own vital part in bringing them to justice.

The novel is brought to a beautifully satisfying conclusion, with Alice learning some amazing things about her family, and the reader being given a tantalizing glimpse into Alice and Sonny's next adventure. This is a lovely book, with themes of family, friendship, bravery and teamwork, and I look forward to reading the next in the series.

320 pages / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Mysteries at Sea: Peril on the Atlantic is a nautical adventure full of twists, turns and surprises. When Alice travels across the Atlantic from Southampton to New York on a with her father, she thinks it is going to be boring but little does she know that this is not going to be the case.

This is a heartwarming tale which showcases friendship and a prevailing sense of justice. I started reading this story and could not put it down, finishing it in one (long) reading session!  The imaginative plot, which has links with history and WWII, keeps you guessing throughout the whole story. There are clever twists throughout the whole novel, keeping you interested and keen to find out what happens next.

This story is perfect for any upper key stage 2 classroom, showing that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I would recommend this to anyone over the age of nine, even adults!

320 pages / Reviewed by Donna Chadwick, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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