Katherine Woodfine

Spies in St. Petersburg

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While Sophie raced off in hot pursuit of the enemy in their last adventure, Lil has returned to London. She is sure that the Bureau is keeping something about Sophie from her and when sent on her next mission, she decides to take matters into her own hands and makes a slight detour to Russia to uncover the truth. However, she finds herself not only unsure of who to trust, but also unsure of her feelings. Will she manage to find Sophie and will everyone survive this time?

I have delayed reviewing this book because although it is my favourite book by Katherine Woodfine so far, I am sulking with her because of something that happens in the story! However, it is such a good read that I have given in!

Well-paced and engaging from page one, ‘Spies in St. Petersburg’ is an excellent read, full of wonderful description. Lil shines through in all she does, captivating all she meets. Sophie continues in her gentle way, yet is made of stern stuff and always comes through in a crisis. A whole cast of new characters enrich the story and there are plenty of humorous moments alongside the tension and intrigue. Russia and its history make a rich background to the story- I want to visit now more than ever!

This is a must read story for anyone who enjoys a compelling mystery. There is an agonising and unexpected twist for those familiar with the characters from the Sinclair Mysteries books which means that everyone will be eagerly awaiting the next instalment with bated breath. I, for one, hope we don’t have to wait too long!

Taylor and Rose Secret Agents: Spies in St. Petersburg Katherine Woodfine,

illustrated by Karl James Mountford

Egmont ISBN: 978-1405287050

Taylor and Rose Secret Agents: Peril in Paris

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Sophie and Lil are now young detectives, working for the mysterious Secret Service Bureau. Whilst Lil is away on a top secret mission, Sophie is sent to Paris on a case of her own. With danger and intrigue round every corner, our plucky heroines must keep their wits about them to face the peril in Paris.

Katherine Woodfine has managed to transport the characters from the very popular Sinclair’s mysteries into a new setting and a new role whilst maintaining their personalities. ‘Peril in Paris’ smoothly follows on from the final Sinclair mystery, setting the girls up for a new series which promises to be every bit as enjoyable as the last.

It is very difficult to fully review a book like this without giving the game away so I shall be concise! Great adventure, plenty of tension and action is accompanied by great new characters, well described settings and historical details. The perfect read for those who enjoy a mystery- and I am one of those people! Top marks!

Taylor and Rose Secret Agents: Peril in Paris Katherine Woodfine,

illustrated by Karl James Mountford

Egmont ISBN: 978-1405287043

Turning Pages in Totnes

On Sunday, we headed to Totnes to enjoy a full day of events at the 'Turn the Page' festival. The sun was shining; the sky was blue; there were books to be bought; there were authors to listen to. In short, the perfect day beckoned!

The festival was being held at the Royal Seven Stars Hotel, a former coaching inn full of character. Any place that has wallpaper like this must be special!

Our first treat was to see Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve in action. Armed with Pug pictures from school, we caught them just before their event and were able to tell them just how much our children enjoy their books.

Dressed with their trademark flamboyance and individuality, they launched into a highly entertaining, enthusiastic performance which was greatly enjoyed by everyone! Their new book, 'Jinx and O'Hare Funfair Repair' is full of humour, both in the story and the illustrations. Having set the scene and given the audience a taste of the story, Philip and Sarah read a section of the story together, really bringing it to life!

We played the 'Ducks of Knowledge' game- 'edu-tainment'-, Sarah taught us to draw a roller coaster ride and we created a race game through a fun fair with lots of creative ideas from the audience! The session was really enjoyable- a real highlight!

Imagine my delight when I spotted a familiar face sitting in the row behind us- Nick Sharratt! His session had been on the Saturday, but he popped in to offer his support and to see Phlip and Sarah in action.

Author of the 'Atlas of Miniature Adventures', Lucy Letherland spoke next. Her new book is full of information about the little things to be found around the world. Having spent many happy hours here both as a child and as a parent, I was delighted to see Bekonscot Model Village and Railway features in the Europe section! Lucy told us how she creates her pictures before encouraging us all to draw!

Dragon sitting next! Josh Lacey read us some of the 'emails' from his books and had us laughing out loud at the antics of Eddie and Uncle Morton's dragon, Ziggy!

Josh answered lots of questions about dragons, being a writer and why he chose to write the 'Grk' series under a pseudonym. His advice to those wishing to become writes themselves was very clear- read as much as you can!

Always a pleasure to listen to, Katherine Woodfine shared the inspiration behind her fabulous 'Sinclairs' books. Having wanted to solve mysteries as a child, Katherine read a whole host of this type of book when young- Famous Five, Nancy Drew, the Lone Pine books. She loved stories about children 'who were brave enough and smart enough to piece together the clues'. This combined with her love of history led to the creation of the Edwardian department store, Sinclairs, where her stories are set. I am impatiently awaiting the third instalment!

To finish our wonderful day, Ross Montgomery ...and a glitter ball! Currently working as a teacher (Yay! He's one of us!), Ross has written three novels and a picture book. Having shared a brief synopsis of each, Ross read from the beginning of 'Perijee and Me'- complete with glitter ball lighting effects!

He encouraged the children to develop their writing skills by working on lanuage choices, using similes and visualising characters. It was a great session!

 The Totnes Bookshop was excellent, staffed by warm, friendly people who obviously love books! We had a great time at Turn the Page 2016 and are already looking forward to next year. A huge well done to Nikki Marsh and the other organisers of the event.