The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

Published by Egmont (ISBN: 978-1405276177)

Sinclairs, an Edwardian department store, provides the setting for this mystery story. Left penniless when her father dies, Sophie Taylor finds a job in the millinery department where she makes friends with Billy, a young porter, and Lil, who models clothes in the department store, but wants to be an actress. When there is a burglary at the store, the three join forces to solve the crime.

A pacey adventure story, this is a great read from start to finish. On one level, this is a whodunit- codes to crack, dastardly gangs, secrets and our young heroes overcoming all obstacles. The clues are scattered throughout making it a satisfying mystery to solve.

However, the story is also rich in historical details and paints a vivid picture of Edwardian life. Sinclairs bears more than a passing resemblance to Selfridges and the pristine uniforms and glistening chandeliers are described in great detail, bringing the place to life. 

It is also a story full of strong and interesting characters. Finding herself an orphan, Sophie shows herself to be a determined and resourceful young lady. Lil is larger than life and makes a good contrast to the more serious Sophie. Billy and Joe are also well drawn, likeable characters, showing another side to Edwardian life.

A great fun read- I look forward to more in the series!