The Greatest English Detective Club is an unusual concept – a very British children’s novel by an American author with obvious passion for England and its characters.
This is a whodunnit for children, with a tangled mystery that requires solving by the gang of boys and girls who star as main characters, evoking obvious similarities with classic Enid Blyton.
The comparisons would be lazy though – although based in Weymouth, England, the lives of the characters reflect the likely experiences of the young readers at which it is targeted.
Here, the grown ups are not painted as perfect, the impact of their day to day decisions and actions are reflected in the personalities of their offspring. These characters are not Queens English public schoolchildren but of the more realistic variety from different backgrounds, ethnicities and family set-ups.
The author, Forest Issac Jones, works in the US education system, and his knowledge of the quirks of young people shines through his storytelling.
He only falters through his enthusiasm for British sayings and expressions, which are sometimes geographically displaced and often old fashioned.
I doubt many people say ‘aye’ in Dorset or ‘crikey’ in general but the story is clearly aimed at the US market – there is even a glossary of terms to explain some of the English sayings.
This is a well thought out mystery with plenty of twists and turns. Imbued with pleasing characterisation and aimed at older children, it keeps you guessing until the end.
The Greatest English Detective Club is available via Amazon in both printed and e-book format. The author has a Facebook page and welcomes feedback and questions via Twitter @DrForestIssac
First published in Lancaster Guardian CLICK HERE