The Book Thieves is the second book in the Lori & Max series from Costa award-winning author Catherine O’Flynn. The first Lori & Max book featured in the 2020 long lists for both the Branford Boase Award and the Blue Peter Awards.
After loving my first detective outing with Lori & Max I was full of excitement to join them on another mystery-solving adventure. Catherine O’Flynn did not disappoint me. The loveable, slightly odd detective duo are back doing what they do best in a read that is fast-paced, full of excitement and with no shortage of mysteries. This can be read as a stand-alone, but I would strongly advise readers to start off with Lori & Max’s first adventure, which is titled Lori & Max, as it provides some useful background information on the characters and the second book does reference things that happened previously. Also, the first book is a brilliant read!
After the drama that unfolded at New Heath Primary School earlier in the year, things are back to normal. Well, as normal as school ever can be. Miss. Casey is away on maternity leave and has been temporarily replaced by Mr. Probert, a Newly Qualified Teacher who has a possible passion for polish and regularly refers to the ‘real world’. Lori is delighted to have solved her first real mystery and herself and Max have become the best of friends. But somethings stay the same and Lori’s nan is as forgetful as ever, regularly losing her glasses despite Lori’s best attempts. Things are better in Max’s life too. Her gambling addicted dad has moved out of her home and her mum is not feeling as sad as she did.
But life has a way of tripping you up when you’re least expecting it. Max’s phone is stolen from school and then Lori digs up a box from her past that reveals a mystery about a missing antique book. Soon, Lori and Max find themselves hot on the heels of phone-thieving bullies and a fraudulent antiques dealer.
Told from the view point of each of the girls, The Book Thieves is a thoroughly entertaining detective mystery read from a very talented writer. It is an easy read and is the perfect introduction to the crime and mystery genre. I love the way both the mysteries unfold. There are enough unknowns to keep the reader guessing, but not so many that the narrative becomes confusing. It is full of everything a good detective read should be with secret spy missions, undercover detective work, interrogations, magnifying glasses, a tape recorder, a camera, and the hope of one day owning some night vision goggles. Despite the dangers and the risks, the two girls are determined to see right triumph over wrong and this is a valuable lesson for readers. The read also has positive messages about friendship, trust, family, and it touches sensitively on mental health through Max’s mum who has battled depression.
Amateur sleuths will have great fun trying to piece together the clues and trying to unravel the mysteries. I’m already full of anticipation for news on Lori & Max’s next case.
Recommended for 8+.
With thanks to Netgalley and Firefly Press for the review copy.