Subtitle: An Alice England Mystery
By: Ash Harrier
Genre: YFCF - Crime & mystery fiction
Published by: Bloomsbury
Published: 2 Aug 2022
ISBN: 9780648987673


Twelve-year-old Alice England is curious, truthful and smart, but when you work in your father's funeral home and you get messages from the dead, it can be difficult to make friends.

When she comes across the peculiar case of George Devenish, who was allergic to sunlight, Alice is convinced there's more to his death than meets the eye.

With the help of George's niece, 'Violet the Vampire', who shares her uncle's allergy, and a boy named Cal, who has secrets of his own, Alice begins to investigate. Who were the teenagers under the dock when George died? How is the sinister Doctor Grampian involved? And what about George's wife, Helen, whose baking is delicious but possibly poisonous?

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This is the first book in a new series – An Alice England Mystery – by Australian author Ash Harrier. It is a great murder mystery story where the main character lives in a funeral home and gets messages from the dead!

Twelve-year-old Alice England is different. She is smart and says things as they are – which can come across a bit blunt. Sadly, this is not great for making friends. She lives at the Tranquillity Waters Funeral Home, which doesn’t help her friendship situation either.

But Alice is happy, and often feels a deep connection with the customers (yes, the dead ones) as they often communicate their stories to her.

This becomes a problem when she befriends Violet, the niece of one of their customers. Violet is always fully covered because UV light causes her to have a severe allergic reaction. Her Uncle George also had the same condition.

Alice is sure that there is more to George’s death than it being merely an accidental reaction to sunlight, and together with Violet she sets about trying to uncover the truth. Alice is relentless and intelligent, but will she be able to do what the police couldn’t and solve the mystery?

This is a terrific first book in a unique and quirky new murder mystery series with themes of solving problems, working together, diversity and empathy that will be loved by fans of mystery and detective stories aged 11 - 14 years.

Reviewed by Rob