An Edwardian shopgirl, accused of a theft she didn't commit, solves the dastardly deed with the help of her new friends.
Sophie's been orphaned since her father died with a mysterious lack of a will, but she's determined to exhibit a stiff upper lip. She takes a job in London's first department store, and though she's proud of her position, she's beastly lonely. Her co-workers are textbook mean girls, but Sophie soon makes unusual friends: Billy, the scruffy mystery-lover; Lil, the cheerful store model and aspiring actress; and Joe, the wounded boy who’s escaped a life working for the crime lord known as the Baron. These white, likable, far too thinly drawn teens begin as mere friends, but when the jeweled Clockwork Sparrow is stolen and Sophie is fired over suspicion for the crime, they band together to solve it themselves. The Baron's involvement terrifies Joe—he'd never have gotten involved with the mystery crime lord if it weren't for the fact that, with a Russian grandad, he's not "a proper British lad" and has no other opportunities—but they have to help Sophie. The puzzles comprising the mystery are of varying quality: one is completely solvable by readers, while another is solved without giving readers their own chance. Sequel The Mystery of the Jeweled Moth publishes simultaneously.
The first entry in an entertaining new girl detective series; here’s hoping future volumes will develop both characterization and puzzles. (Mystery. 11-14)