In Book 1 of The Mysteries of Maisie Hitchins, a perceptive London girl with a penchant for detecting tackles her first case to save a friend who’s been wrongly accused of stealing sixpence.
Maisie longs to become a famous detective like her hero, Gilbert Carrington. Unfortunately, 12-year-old Maisie lives in her Gran’s boardinghouse, where sleuthing opportunities are limited. After Maisie rescues a puppy someone’s tried to drown, she’s determined to find the culprit. Meanwhile, her new canine pal, Eddie, creates havoc when he absconds with sausages from the butcher’s delivery boy, George. Soon after, Maisie learns George has been sacked for stealing sixpence from the butcher’s shop, even though he tells her he found the coin. Armed with notebook and pencil, Maisie cases out the butcher’s shop, interviews suspects and goes undercover disguised as a boy and an old lady. While working on George’s case, Maisie accidentally discovers who tried to drown Eddie, and after several hilarious escapades and help from Gran’s eccentric boarders, she cracks both cases. Linear, black-and-white illustrations teem with what appears to be late-19th-century period detail, while Maisie and other characters are rendered with whimsy and charm.
Readers will eagerly await this spunky, saucy new amateur detective’s next caper. (Mystery. 9-12)