“Generations of Kennewicketts have excelled at blowing things up.”
So says Wally’s dachshund, Noodles. As the series moves to London, the pyrotechnically gifted wunderkind and his canine biographer soon tangle with suffragists, criminal masterminds, muckraking journalists, famous writers, and mechanical wonders. With the senior Kennewicketts in France for the Electromobile Road Rally, Wally and Noodles are billeted with aunt Rhodope, a Sister of Suffrage. After accompanying her to a suffragist demonstration, the pair encounter a set of street performers; one, a boy called Dobbin, warns Wally that his boss, the notorious Tick Tock, plans to kidnap him. When a note from Dobbin arrives begging for Wally’s help, boy and dog answer the call, which leads them down into London’s sewers, where Dobbin resides with his ailing little sister, Briney. Dobbin admits he’s worked for Tick Tock, but he has his reasons, which involve Briney. Wally, invited to breakfast with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, brings Dobbin and Briney along, hoping the great author can assist them. The action is swift, the setting vivid (foggy pea-souper nights, noisy demos, noisome dens), and the typically white characters (upright citizens, kindly constables, fierce feminists) lively. The text and art are a perfect match for the genre and should attract enough young readers to ensure the steampunk fan base for another generation.
The strongest volume yet in an enjoyable series that keeps getting better. (author’s note) (Steampunk. 9-12)