By Author / Illustrator
Caroline Lawrence, Caroline Lawrence
Hachette Children's Group
Virginia City in 1862 is a mining camp sitting above a rich vein of silver in America's Wild West. It's a dangerous place, full of gamblers, hurdy girls and gunmen - all of them on the make! When twelve year-old P.K. Pinkerton arrives there, homeless, penniless and hunted, things don't look good. But P.K. soon finds allies in Sam Clemens, a newspaper reporter, Poker Face Jace, a gambler who can tell when someone is bluffing, and Ping, a Chinese photographer's apprentice. With the help of these friends - and armed with a Smith & Wesson seven-shooter and a knack for disguises - P.K. takes on the tricksters and desperados and tries to become a detective. Fast, furious and funny - an utterly entertaining mystery adventure from an author who knows exactly how to grip and thrill her readers.
P. K. Pinkerton's situation is desperate. Trapped down the deepest shaft of a Comstock silver mine with three desperadoes closing in on him, he is convinced that by the end of the day he will be dead. Yet this is a humorous, entertaining read of an unlikely chain of events. P. K.'s 12th birthday goes from bad to worse as not only is his foster family killed, but by running away he makes himself a prime suspect, chased by the same ruthless killers. Just as he escapes one situation, P.K. finds himself in another. The reader urges him not to trust those trying to help him from the start, but with the wild west being the dangerous place it is, full of gamblers, hurdy girls, saloon-keepers and gunmen, all of them out to make a fast buck, P. K. is a target for those out to defraud him of his inheritance. The book has echoes of the Dog in the night time as P. K. must surely be autistic, but this is where the humour lies and the condition is not mocked, and certainly never mentioned as it is 1862. This title is the first in what must be a series, and there is plenty of mileage in the beginning of this story. An engaging read for children and a brilliant chapter by chapter read for teachers to keep pupils on the edge of their seats over a few weeks. (274 pages) Ages: 8-11 years. Reviewed by Dawn Woods, SLS librarian
Suggested Reading Age 9+