Solve Your Own Mystery: The Time Thief

Solve Your Own Mystery: The Time Thief

By Author / Illustrator

Gareth P. Jones, Louise Forshaw


Mystery & Detective

Age range(s)



Little Tiger Press Group




Paperback / softback




One puzzling mystery. Several slippery suspects. Endless possibilities!  Welcome to Haventry, a town where the ordinary and extraordinary collide! With ghosts, werewolves and zombies living side by side, trouble is always brewing. And when a fiendish crime is committed, YOU are the detective in charge of the case.

The Museum of Magical Objects and Precious Stones is putting on a special time-travelling showcase, but when the main exhibit is stolen, it's up to YOU to find the thief. The Time Sponge has the ability to stop and start time for whoever squeezes it, so who has the strongest motive? The minotaur chief of police who has a lot on at work or the shoplifting band of mermaids? Should you trail the museum's petrifying gorgon curator? Or could your very own yeti partner be responsible? YOU decide!

With hundreds of paths to choose from and no dead ends, you'll solve the mystery every time!  A fantastically imaginative detective story for readers looking for an interactive adventure.  See also Solve Your Own Mystery: The Monster Maker.

Q&A and Video with author Gareth P Jones



This was a fabulous, funny, intriguing and puzzling interactive mystery story where you, the reader, becomes one of the main characters and detectives of the crime that has been committed. You find yourself in the town of Haventry. It may look normal but it also has a 'Shady Side', inhabited by werewolves, vampires and goblins, amongst other curious characters. At the Museum of Magic Objects and Precious Stones, the utterly unique Time Sponge (with the power to freeze time when squeezed) has gone missing, presumed stolen. You are one half of a detective duo - with your boss, Klaus Solstaag, a huge, burly ex police officer (and also a Yeti!).

The book hooks you, the reader, by immersing you in the choices they get to make in the story at the end of certain events and chapters. You will need to investigate the scene of the crime (getting past the argumentative gargoyles at the entrance), list and question your suspects, figure out motives and follow up alibis. There are fantastically inventive characters to interrogate: shoplifting mermaids and snake-haired museum curators, and time-bending lobsters to deal with.

With three possible endings to the story, it is an joy to read and re-read and to have the control to change the plotline each time (there are multiple stories all wrapped up in one). The fun and imaginative illustrations by Louise Forshaw bring the odd and unique characters to life.

Solve Your Own Mystery - The Time Thief reminded me of the 'choose your own adventure' books from my childhood. I think young readers now will love the experience of being part of the story and find this exciting , engaging and fun to read.

224 pages / Reviewed by Jennifer Caddick, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 7+


From a young age children are taught that stories have a beginning, a middle - usually the problem, and an end. Well this great mystery adventure story by Gareth P. Jones, breaks the traditional story book mould. Solve Your Own Mystery - The Time Thief is the second book in the series and has three possible endings and who knows how many middles, all depending on the decisions made by the reader as the assistant Detective Klaus Solstag solve the case of the missing Time Sponge.

Set in the town of Haventry, the reader takes on the role of assistant to Detective Klaus – a yeti with attitude. Working together, the reader must identify and interrogate suspects, search for clues and solve the mystery, making choices which lead them through the book to one of the three different endings.

Written in short easy to read chapters, where the reader can choose their own journey through the adventure, will make this fab book a certain winner. As Bernard the Time Bending Lobster tells the reader, "Each one represents a point to which you can return. Do you want to see how things could have been? Or perhaps you are satisfied with this ending. One solution is enough for some. They prefer to trudge forwards with their ordinary lives. They fail to see how many possibilities life can offer if you only have the courage to look."

Ideal for young readers who have yet to develop chapter book reading stamina, this Solve Your Own Mystery format also allows a reader who feels more comfortable with a familiar read the opportunity to re-read the same title over again, without necessarily reaching the same ending.

This is most definitely a great children's chapter book but I do feel that a 'very special mention' should be made regarding the fantastic, fantastical illustrations by Louise Forshaw. Set in a mythical town, there are numerous weird and wonderful characters under suspicion; mermaids, leprechauns and wailing banshees, to name a few. My only wish would be for a coloured picture version so that I could enjoy these characters even more!

This is a great read for children in Year 4 upwards, and will undoubtedly be a popular choice from any library, classroom or family bookshelf.

224 pages / Reviewed by Sam Phillips, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 7+


We're used to the idea that all stories should have a beginning, a middle and an end (as well as a problem to solve). But Solve Your Own Mystery - The Time Thief has three possible endings and any number of middles, depending on which options you take at the conclusion of each chapter. 

So, after being told the problem - that the Time Sponge has been stolen from Haventry's Museum of MOPS (Magical Objects and Precious Stones) - and having been introduced to some of the main characters, including members of the UPF (Unusual Police Force), plus a larger-than-life private detective (a yeti) and his human assistant, we have the choice of either talking to two mermaids and a mailman or going to the crime scene to see the Guard-Goyles.  And thus, this strange tale continues, through twists and turns, until we build up an idea of the real suspects.  

Children in Years 3 & 4 (ages 7+) will especially enjoy the humour, both in the storytelling and the illustrations.  They will also enjoy plotting their own path as they practice their own sleuthing skills and, no doubt, will be eager for the next 'Solve Your Own Mystery' book in the series. 

224 pages / Reviewed by Jane Rew, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 7+


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