Sunny blue skies and a balcony above bustling streets in the south of France have provided the perfect place to join the sprightly, moustache-donning, beret-wearing Montgomery Bonbon for her latest mystery solving adventure. And what another cracker it is.
Ten-year-old Bonnie Montgomery is the self-proclaimed world’s greatest detective, a reputation that grows with every case that she cracks. Ordinary school girl one moment, mysterious detective the next as she transforms into her alter ego Montgomery Bonbon - the suave and no-nonsense foreign detective with an extraordinary talent for solving mysteries that regular law enforcement cannot. And her newest case is fan-tasche-tic!
Bonnie is very much looking forward to a quiet little holiday on Odde Island without mystery, intrigue and definitely no murder. But she has barely had time to unpack her bucket and spade before trouble is afoot. The local lighthouse keeper has died overnight and just like that Bonnie’s holiday is over and a new investigation for Montgomery Bonbon has begun. Accident or foul play? There’s something fishy about Odde Island and it isn’t just the smell, the locals are strange, their traditions stranger. Can Montgomery Bonbon sniff out the truth…
I’m a huge fan of middle-grade murder-mysteries and Alasdair Beckett-King has written another cracking who-dunnit that had me guessing until the end and racing through the pages faster than Grampa Banks’ ice-cream van could climb hills. Delivered with a healthy dose of humour and starring a brilliant and unlikely crime fighting duo who have the most wonderful of generation-transcending relationships, Montgomery Bonbon is heart-warming, crime-solving, moustache-y heaven.
Like an onion, of which there are many on Odde Island (just don’t tell exciseman Iain Percival about them), the mystery has many layers which are slowly peeled back. A fast-paced, intrigue-packed and brilliantly plotted narrative guides readers on a fun-filled trip around the most curious of places with regular clues encouraging active detective work. Playing the part alongside Montgomery, readers will be unpicking the truth from the tales, musing over alibis, evaluating motives and scouring the evidence before delivering the words ‘J’accuse’, spoken of course in the very best of French accents.
My detective work clearly has room for improvement and was lacking the par excellence of such a seasoned pro as Montgomery Bonbon. Meticulously analysing everything and looking for that which others may miss, I failed in my attempt to collar the crook although that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It took Montgomery Bonbon, the world’s greatest detective, to crack the case and bring a killer to justice.
Claire Powell’s wit-filled illustrations are superb. Case notes are shared, characters are vividly realised, boat anatomy is kiddie-labelled and the all the quirks of Odde Island are gloriously brought to life (anyone for a chocolate and feta parfait?). Like Grampa and Bonbon, Alasdair and Claire are the perfect partnership with a winning formula of laughs, crime, sleuthing, adventure and misadventure.
Amateur sleuths will love it! A brilliant and must-have read for those that devoured The Adventures on Trains and Alice Eclair, Spy Extraordinaire series. We haven’t seen the last of Montgomery Bonbon, her moustache and her beret, she’ll soon be back doing what she does best. A foreboding note requesting her presence at Adderstone Manor and a warning to trust no one have me eagerly anticipating the next case.
Recommended for 8+.
With huge thanks to Walker for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.