A red-haired foundling makes friends and begins a promising set of adventures on the ninth anniversary of her discovery in a travel bag in London’s Victoria Station.
Now living in a run-down manor in Cornwall, Minerva Mint hopes desperately to learn the identities of the parents who abandoned her nine years earlier. This series opener introduces Minerva’s mysterious origins and her two companions. Every year, just before Minerva’s birthday, her guardian, Geraldine Flopps, advertises for her parents; every year, imposters appear to claim her. She runs off this year’s pair with a magic owl-calling flute but only after a series of episodes in which clues are presented, materials gathered, and the children’s personalities revealed. Minerva is adept with a slingshot and can tell when people are lying. Blonde Thomasina is privileged and prepared for adventure. Immigrant Ravi is afraid of heights but willing to do almost anything for Thomasina. There’s a great deal of climbing, some literal cliff-hanging, a magic potion and a secret compartment. The companions scare off Minerva’s nemesis, evil Gilbert O’Sullivan, but it’s clear he’ll return. Occasionally the translation doesn’t quite hit the mark, but cinematic action carries the story forward. Readers will be eager for more. (Six titles have been published in Italy.)
Predictable but appealing for series fans. (Adventure. 7-10)