The second adventure starring Lil, Sophie Billy and Joe, 'The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth', is every bit as engaging as the first.
This book starts by introducing Mei and her family in China Town which, in the Edwardian period, was located around the docks at Limehouse. A small number of Chinese employees of the East India Company chose to settle there in the 1800s; the 1881 census shows 109 recorded Chinese migrants, the majority of whom lived in Limehouse. There are some fascinating pictures on this website: http://limehousechinatown.org/the-cantonese-community/#more-49
Mei's parents run a thriving shop in the heart of this community, but things are changing as the Baron's Boys make their move on the area and start to terrorise the locals. Inspired by her grandfather's stories of the Moonbeam Diamond which her family had been guardians of in their home village in China, Mei is excited to find a reference to the jewel in the papers and hopes its return might save them all.
Meanwhile, Sophie and Lil are approached by the very debutante who has been given the Jewelled Moth (which has the Moonbeam Diamond at its heart) as a gift from the man she hopes will soon propose. The jewel has been stolen- can the girls help with its return?
And so the lives of three very different sections of Edwardian society come together in an exciting and fast-paced story which is an excellent read. Details of Edwardian life colour every page, including extracts from Lady Diana DeVere's Etiquette for Debutantes: A Guide to the Manners, Mores and Morals of Good Society, an obviously excellent read which I would learn much from! The characters are full of life, the setting full of detail and the plot full of action- what more could you ask for? The hint of romance between Lil and Joe..?
Although you can read this as a stand alone story, I am sure that anyone who has read this will immediately be reaching for the first in the series- The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow- a review of which you can find on our 'Quality Fiction Bookshelf'.
I can't wait to read the next adventure from Katherine Woodfine about this brave gang from Sinclair's-The Mystery of the Painted Dragon coming February 2017 (far too long to wait!)