Twice Upon a Time

Twice Upon a Time

By Author / Illustrator

Michelle Harrison


Mystery & Detective

Age range(s)



Simon & Schuster








Can stopping time solve a murder . . . ? A delicious mystery adventure for fans of Robin Stevens and Cressida Cowell from the award-winning and bestselling author of the Pinch of Magic series.

When the Morrow twins, Merry and Spike, arrive at dusty old Fox House, they think spending their holidays there is going to be dull. But they soon discover that there are secrets to the old house. A missing woman, a baby left on the doorstep, a locked study . . . As the mysteries pile up, the girls begin to investigate, using their own secret to help them: they can stop time!   What happened in this old house? And can their strange powers help them solve a decades-old crime?

Praise for the Pinch of Magic Adventures:  'A spellbinding story, steeped in magic. I adored it.' Abi Elphinstone.  'Brilliant' Emma Carroll.  'What a gorgeous, funny, creepy, page-turny story! If you're yet to discover the Widdershins sisters books, you're in for a TREAT!' Lucy Strange.  'A stunner. Such great writing!' 



The Morrow twins, Merry and Spike, were born on either side of the start of the New Year. Consequently, they were born in different months and years, and both of the clocks in their house stopped at the exact times of their births. Now clocks behave oddly around them and they have discovered they have a strange talent; Spike can make time speed forwards, while Merry can make time go backwards. Together, they can actually pause time for a minute. They can also see visions from the past or the future.

Their mother is an art restorer, and when her work takes her and the girls to Fox Hall for the holidays, Merry and Spike are not happy and expect to have a dull and boring time. However, Fox House is full of secrets and mystery including the mysterious disappearance of a woman, a baby left on a doorstep, a family feud, and a locked study. With the help of Ben, who lives at Fox Hall as a ward of the owner, Lady Belmont, the girls are determined to discover what happened all those years ago and their special powers just what they need to help solve the mystery.

Twice Upon a Time is a cleverly plotted, well-written mystery thriller. The author gives us a great cast of characters; the twins are the perfect protagonists, identical in appearance but very different in character. Merry is cheerful and smiley, while Spike is like her nickname, prickly and more likely to break the rules. Together they make a great team, supporting each other in the search for the truth as to what happened to the missing woman, Jenny Crocker.

The novel is a real page-turner, full of hooded figures, dusty attics, and secret rooms. There is a great element of suspense, and enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing throughout the novel.  This is a really enjoyable mystery with more that a touch of magic, and I am sure that it will prove popular with readers aged nine and over. I cannot comment on the illustrations by Natalie Smillie as they were not included in my proof copy, but her cover illustration is lovely. Let's hope that this is only the first of many adventures for the redoubtable Morrow twins!

336 pages / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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