By Author / Illustrator
Mystery & Detective
Welbeck Publishing Group
Paperback / softback
Would you risk the future to change the past? Luna, Konstantin and Aidan are time-travelling thieves working for The Butterfly Club. When they are asked to steal a little-known painting called the Mona Lisa, Aidan can only think of one man who can make things disappear - the magician, Harry Houdini. And as luck would have it, Houdini cannot resist a challenge.
The three children and Houdini travel to 1911 Paris where they face an impossible task - stealing a painting right off the wall of the fortress-like Louvre Museum. As Houdini prepares for the theft, a heist which will require him to pull off his greatest ever trick, the time-thieves realise that the Mona Lisa is smiling because she holds a secret. Her creator, Leonardo Da Vinci, hid mysterious codes within the painting. The race is on to solve the puzzle in time...
Working for the Butterfly Club, time-travelling thieves Aidan, Luna and Konstantin have already been on two missions into the future and now it is time for their third. In The Mona Lisa Mystery, they are asked to steal a little-known painting called the Mona Lisa from the Louvre - a seemingly impossible challenge. However, a chance encounter with Harry Houdini means the children have help, but they soon learn that they are not the only ones intent on stealing the portrait as it holds clues to much greater treasure.
The Butterfly Club books got off to a great start with The Ship of Doom and an adventure on the Titanic, setting a high standard for subsequent adventures. Fortunately, this has continued with The Mummy's Curse and a trip to the Valley of the Kings, just as Carter was about to discover Tutankhamun's tomb, and, in the most recent book, a jaunt to 1911 Paris and the Louvre.
Each story is full of historical detail, with figures and events from the period woven into the children's exploits on behalf of the club. Despite a letter from Luna to the reader offering a summary of events and introduction to herself, Aidan and Konstantin, I feel the books work best read in order as the characters develop in each story both in themselves and in their relationships with each other. The children are also becoming wise to the Butterfly Club, questioning their motivation and their reasons for choosing the children to tackle some of these missions.
Information is included at the end of the book about some of the people, places and items in the book, offering an excellent staring point for anyone wishing to find out more. The significance of the Mona Lisa at the time of the story, its theft and its subsequent fame is a fascinating story in itself - perfect for a time-thief adventure!
With a pacey plot, gripping storyline, convincing characters and historic details, The Mona Lisa Mystery is a brilliant read and I look forward to the next adventure!
304 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+
I make no secret of being a fan of The Butterfly Club books. They have captured my imagination and allowed me to delve into the events from the past with ease. They are layered with history and gripping adventures and have some fantastic characters.
The third book in the series by M.A. Bennett is The Mona Lisa Mystery and it does not disappoint The Butterfly Club fans Luna, Aiden and Konstantin have learnt so much about time-travel but still seem uncertain about the reasons for the Butterfly Club's missions. When fate has them meet the master magician Harry Houdini, little do they know that he will help them embark on their next thrilling adventure into the future to steal the artwork of Leonardo Da Vinci.
The time-travellers' new mission is to travel to Paris in 1911 and steal the Mona Lisa, a piece of artwork that is overlooked in its time. It is thought that the Mona Lisa will help them to discover information about another painting of which they seek to find. Their plan is to steal the Mona Lisa from one of the world's greatest galleries - The Louvre, in Paris. The challenges that the team face are immense as the gallery is one of the most secure place in the world and the paintings are heavily guarded. However, with the help of Houdini and an Italian glazier from the gallery, they are able to formulate a plan of action that will prove to be the art world's biggest heist.
I love how this book represents history and how the characters each have a greater part to play in the advancement of the plot. Luna is always thoughtful and caring, Aiden is a engineering genius and Konstantin is brave and loyal. An eclectic mix of friendship that completely works.
Children will love this new time-travelling adventure through Paris and Italy before WW1. It would be an excellent class read and a thoroughly enjoyable book to have in any school library.
304 pages / Reviewed by Hayley Summerfield, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+