The future author of Frankenstein teams up with the future inventor of the computer to establish a young ladies' detective agency.
The fact that in real life Mary Shelley, nee Godwin, was 18 years older than Ada Lovelace, nee Byron, doesn't seem to bother Stratford one whit. He simply reduces the age difference by 15 years and arranges for Mary to be sent to Ada's house for tutoring. Their tutor is a hapless Percy Shelley (bumblingly incognito); illicitly sharing Mary's carriage every day is a cheerful young Charles Dickens. Young readers unencumbered by the knowledge that the setup is laughably ahistorical may enjoy the slight mystery, which unfolds when Mary and Ada decide to spice up their routine by investigating interesting crimes. They will probably warm to Mary’s steady intelligence. They will certainly relish Ada's many eccentricities, especially the hot air balloon she keeps tethered to her roof and her willingness to store Shelley in the distillery closet when he gets in the way. But even the most credulous child may find it very hard to believe that a Victorian family submits to the interrogation of two strange girls about a lost gem under the guise of a school project. An author’s note attempts to correct the text’s inaccuracies.
At best readers won't get it, and at worst they will believe it. (Historical mystery. 8-12)