In which a disabled white girl from the British upper crust becomes a bohemian art student, meets the Suffragettes, and is rescued from dastardly murder and plotting by spunky Edwardian girl detectives.
Leo—Leonora to her family—is sick of being the unattractive, limping girl in her family’s joyless mansion. Amazingly, she’s been accepted for the 1909 class at London’s Spencer Institute of Fine Art. Though she’s exceedingly shy, Leo befriends the free-spirited art students as they volunteer for art-lover Mr. Lyle’s art exhibition at Sinclair’s department store. Luckily, this brings Leo into the orbit of this series’ sleuths: shopgirl Sophie, actress (and part-time department store mannequin) Lilian, and their friends. Everything goes awry when the gem of Mr. Lyle’s exhibition, the priceless painting known as The Green Dragon, is stolen and replaced with a copy by Leo. Is she a suspect? Why is a mysterious man with scarlet gloves trying to murder her? Thank goodness for Sophie, Lil, and all their friends. Everyone appears to be white except for Mei Lim, introduced in the previous series entry (The Mystery of the Jeweled Moth), at whose family’s China Town home Leo takes refuge. This old-fashioned whodunit is thoroughly satisfying to solve along with our heroes, and there are plenty of secrets left over for Volume 4.
Jolly good fun. (Historical fiction/mystery. 11-14)