Sharna Jackson. London: Knights Of, hb, 9 781 9996 4251 8, 2019, £6.99, 352pp.
Fiction, mystery, 10+ years
Norva (age 13) is the emotional one who believes in intuition, Nik (11) her younger sister looks to facts to make her deductions. Together they act as a detective agency for the housing estate that is their home; mysteries such as “The Graffiti Games” have been solved by them.
But now they are faced with something much more serious – a dead body! And they know who it is. It is up to them to find out who is the murderer and why because they know the wrong person has been accused.Murder mysteries for young readers are popular and there are an increasing number to recommend. This is definitely one that should be very high on the list; contemporary, lively and reflecting an urban landscape that will be familiar to a great many. Nik – who is the narrator – and her sister, Norva, are feisty protagonists, each with their own talent and approach. Once the book is opened the reader steps into their world to join them in their effort to find who has killed their friend. They can follow the girls as Nik records their progress meticulously – and helpfully provides a map of The Block.
Their language is direct, brisk and of the present, description is kept to the minimum, dialogue ensures the action moves forward at a pace while concise sentence structures keep the pages turning. The two girls are certainly at the centre of the plot, but adults are not forgotten, taking on realistic roles without detracting from the siblings. Designed for KS2/ KS3 this is a breath of fresh air and Sharna Jackson an author to watch.
Review by FMH