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It has been an age since I blogged. It has been an age since I managed to get some reading done. I have been trying to save my local GP surgery from closing, and campaigning totally gets in the way of snuggling up with a good book.

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I have, over the weekend however, managed to read a few things. The first thing I managed to finish was Nancy Parker’s Diary of Detection by Julia Lee.

This was given to me by the Amazon Vine review programme in return for my honest opinion.

Honestly, I really enjoyed this.

It was very silly, utterly far fetched and completely absorbing. It tells the story of fourteen year old Nancy Parker, who having finished school finds herself having to go into service. She becomes the maid of a rather decadent lady called Mrs. Bryce, who soon moves her household away from London to the coast.  Nancy is rather excited at first by the move and by the glamour of Mrs. Bryce, but she has a persistent feeling that not everything in the household is as it seems, and Nancy’s diary unfolds her investigation into the matter which shows how right Nancy is, although not necessarily in the conclusions she draws.

Through the course of the story, Nancy’s narrative becomes entwined with two other children’s voices, Ella Otter, the daughter of a distinguished archaeologist, and Quentin Ives, a boy whose failure at boarding school has landed him a position being tutored through the summer holidays by the Reverend Cheeseman. Like Nancy, Ella and Quentin are for the large part, forgotten by the grown ups who are supposed to be in charge of them, and starved of adventure, they soon make one for themselves. Nancy’s diary extracts mingle with more traditional third person narratives for Quentin and Ella.

This is a period novel, set just after the second world war. It reads rather like an Enid Blyton book, but without the dated language.  I loved it because it reminded me of all the books I read avidly as a child, as well as it being a real page turner.  I think it will be the first of a series. I hope so. There seems to be a penchant for these kind of books at the moment in publishing circles. Long may it last.

The book is perfect for independent readers, both boys and girls, aged 7 to 12. It has moments of suspense and humour, but nothing too dark. It’s a proper novel to escape into that is just exciting enough to keep you racing through it.

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