By Author / Illustrator
Mystery & Detective
Crown House Publishing
Paperback / softback
The first book in the series, The Five Clues, is a real-time murder-mystery thriller and family drama, combining an exciting race against time with a heart-rending story about a teenager learning to live with the loss of a beloved parent.
Walking back from her mother's grave, 13-year-old schoolgirl Edie Marble finds a note in a pocket of the sheepskin coat that she hasn't worn since the day, a year earlier, when she received the awful news of her mother's death. The note is from her mother, who had been looking into a corporate human rights violation and had become fearful for her life after receiving death threats. She trusts only Edie - because of their special bond and Edie's intelligence - and has laid a trail of clues for Edie to find that will help her to shed light on the violation and uncover the mystery around her death.
Through her wit and determination, Edie steadily gathers evidence and negotiates the dramatic twists and turns of the story by collaborating with her friends and family to gradually unearth a sinister attempt by a pharmaceutical company to conceal their illegal development of a lethal virus. As Edie's investigations progress she is introduced, in parallel, to the Three Principles, which help her conquer various psychological stresses and support her in coming to terms with her grief. Reading age 11+
Murder, mystery, clues to solve, and a brilliant courageous character, what more could you want in a book?
In The Five Clues, Edie finds a note, left by her Mum to her, which leads Edie to question her Mum's death. It's the first of five clues her Mother has left her to solve in order to find out why she died, but the quest is fraught with danger for Edie.
The cover of the book is reminiscent of blackout poetry, I was 'hooked' from that alone. The inside cover has a map of the area, which is always great to visualize the scene as it unfolded. It doesn't disappoint, a slightly slow start turns into a non-stop page-turner of the best kind. Edie is a smart yet vulnerable character, it was easy to relate to her family situation, grieving and trying to find a way to keep going.
The book touches on understanding mental health, science, human rights, and ethics, but is gauged at the right level for the reader's understanding. I would recommend this book for everyone over 11 years, adults as well, it left me feeling positive and uplifted, and I'm looking forward to the next adventure with Edie!
336 pages / Reviewed by Shirley Munn, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+
The Five Clues is a page turning mystery which immerses the reader in the world of ethics and science. Edie is secretly left a set of clues by her activist mother in the event of (what turns out to be) her suspicious death. She uses her natural intelligence and her close relationship with her mother to understand and solve the cryptic conundrums her mum set enabling her to understand the questionable work of an international pharmaceutical business.
Edie turns to her family and friends for help as the mystery deepens and solving it leads to increasing danger. Edie Marble is a strong character who drives the fast pace of this thriller but she is also grieving the sudden death of a parent and the family's forced return from abroad.
This book, written by a doctor, uses his knowledge of the Three Principles; a framework with which to understand how the mind works. Professor Anthony Kessel interweaves these concepts to help support Edie's psychological wellbeing as she grieves the loss of her mother and copes with the stress of the deadly investigation.
The Five Clues was written before the Covid-19 pandemic but offers an compelling narrative where a virus threatens the wellbeing of the human race. It is the first in a series of four middle grade detective stories and I highly recommend it to secondary school students who enjoy a book combining courage and conspiracy!
This book contains issues that may trigger readers: bereavement, threat
336 pages / Reviewed by Ruth Cornish, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+