By Author / Illustrator
Peter Graves, Jakob Wegelius
Pushkin Children's Books
When Sally Jones and The Chief discover a curious rose-shaped necklace hidden onboard their beloved Hudson Queen, it's the start of another perilous adventure for the seafaring gorilla and her faithful friend. Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, they set sail for Glasgow, but there fall into the clutches of one of the city's most ruthless gangs, commanded by a fearsome smuggler queen who will stop at nothing to snatch the necklace for herself. Held prisoner hundreds of miles from friendship and safety, Sally Jones must use all her strength, determination and compassion to escape and unravel the mysterious story of the False Rose - a twisting tale leading all the way from Lisbon to Shetland and the South Seas.
The False Rose, Sally Jones has returned to tell a tale of theft, deception, gang warfare and vengeance. From the first page the reader is swept along by action and intrigue, all beautifully told from the perspective of a wise ape. Sally Jones is an ape - no ordinary ape, but an intelligent engineer and a loyal friend. Sally has strong values and a desire to see that justice is done. The story, told from her perspective, has beauty in how the world is seen through Sally's eyes. As an ape, she is watchful and so small details are noted and shared in rich and evocative detail. Sally listens intently and, as a silent animal, has only insightful thoughts to contribute.
Sally and her much-loved companion, The Chief, are surprised to uncover a valuable necklace hidden away on their boat, 'The Clyde Puffer.' The discovery coincides with the appearance of a fairground worker going by the name of Harvey Jenkins. Jenkins takes a keen interest in both the boat and with Sally and it is at this point that the book cannot be put down. With The Chief away on an enforced trip to America, Sally is left behind in Glasgow under the watchful eye of a group of gangsters. During this time Sally forms a new friendship with Bernie, a downtrodden, bullied member of the mob.
The gradual strengthening of the friendship between Sally and Bernie is beautifully crafted as mutual trust and understanding develops. Sally's empathy and gentle nature oozes from every page. There are times when Sally's morals are put to the test and when, despite her conscience, she must do what is needed to protect herself or to protect others. Her desire to do what is right is sometimes at odds with the need to do what she must and, again, this is told in heart-wrenching detail.
The False Rose is an original and captivating mystery; its telling weaves a strong spell; I found myself reading chapter after chapter, unable to stop until all the pieces of the puzzle were cleverly slotted together. The presence and the unique and endearing personality of Sally Jones will stay with the reader long after the puzzle has been resolved.
528 pages / Reviewed by Jo Clarke
Suggested Reading Age 9+