The Connie Carew Mysteries 1: The House of Eyes by Patricia Elliott
Published by Hodder Children's
2nd July 2015
London, 1909 - a time of scientific progress and new freedoms. Ever since the death of her parents, twelve-year old Connie Carew has lived with her aunts - downtrodden Dorothea, and spinster Sylvie, who 'sees things' but is much sharper than she appears - in a large house in Kensington.
Connie has her sights set on becoming an anthropologist when she grows up and travel the world. Her first mystery is upon her already: is the girl who turns up at the front door really her long-lost cousin Ida? If she isn't, who is she? And who is behind the pretence?
This book, again, came about via a twitter recommendation that simply said, "if you love seances, suffragettes and splendid mysteries, don't miss this" - well, clearly I was sold instantly, who wouldn't be?!
This is the first in a set of mystery stories, aimed at children, featuring Constance Clementine Carew, an orphan, who lives with her two aunts in a large Victorian house in central London. She's a bright, inquisitive twelve year old who is treated pretty much as an adult by her two aunts. She wants to be an anthropologist and spends as much time as possible at the British Museum, studying the mummies in the Egyptian collection.
One day, a young girl named Ida Brown turns up looking for work. As luck would have it, she happens to be wearing an identical necklace to that worn by Aunt Dorothea's own daughter Ida who mysteriously disappeared when she was a baby. Could this really be the missing heiress Ida Fairbanks, who is due to turn eighteen very shortly, and come into a huge inheritance, is she really Connie's long-lost cousin, or is she indeed an imposter?
Connie isn't one to be taken in lightly, despite her aunt's insistance that this is, indeed he own daughter Ida. With her piano teacher Arthur at her side, she travels around London to find out the truth. There are lots of twists and turns along the way, and you never know quite who to trust or not in this fantastic tale. I was drawn in from the very beginning and read it in two sittings. I particularly liked the fact that the book is set in early 1900s, where technology didn't exist as it did today, therefore our detective must investigate the crime using her wits only. I think this series will be a huge hit. I'm recommending it to my 9 year old to read.