Montgomery Bonbon is the latest super-sleuth set to take the middle-grade crime genre by storm.
Ten-year-old Bonnie Montgomery is the world’s greatest detective, a fact only known by herself and her partner in crime-solving, Grampa Banks. Disguised as a suave and mysterious foreign gentleman and operating under the pseudonym Montgomery Bonbon, Bonnie solves crimes that law enforcement cannot. And her first documented case in Alasdair Beckett-King’s new series is middle-grade crime-solving moustachy heaven.
Bonnie and her Grampa Banks are enjoying a nice summer’s day out together at the Hornville Museum of Natural History and Suchlike - the oldest building in Widdlington - when a piercing, blood-curdling scream rips through the air and the museum is plunged into darkness. When the light’s come back on, a priceless artefact is missing and a security guard is lying dead on the floor. This is a matter for Widdlington’s finest. Transformed by moustache, dour raincoat and jaunty beret, Montgomery Bonbon is out to crack her toughest case yet…
I love to get lost in a good middle-grade murder-mystery and this is an absolute corker, you might say it's ‘fan-tasche-tic'. Beckett-King’s debut is brilliantly plotted, pacy, funny, slick and often a little hairy (that’s the last moustache pun). A good mystery should keep the reader on tenterhooks and desperate to know more and this does exactly that. I could not stop reading, desperate to know what Bonbon and Grampa would get up to next and which way the case would go.
With twists and turns, red herrings, dodgy witnesses, shady suspects, a gobby scarlet macaw and pesky seagulls, this has everything amateur sleuths and aspiring detectives could want. I thoroughly enjoyed joining Bonbon’s search for clues, combing through the evidence and trying to reveal the culprit of such a dastardly deed. Whilst I did cotton on to a thing or two I failed to correctly identify the villain - no shame in that though, it took Montgomery Bonbon, the world’s greatest detective, to see the truth through the lies.
Bonbon and Grampa Banks make an unlikely crime-fighting duo, rolling around the streets in an ice-cream van. Don’t let that fool you though. Bonnie is as feisty, quick-witted and as sharp as young detectives come - all the while trying to keep her alter-ego under wraps - and Grampa Banks has a trick or two up his sleeve when he’s not drinking cups of tea or sucking on sherbert lemons.
I loved Claire Powell’s illustrations that as well bringing characters to life, provide some delightful glimpses into Bonbon’s case notes - a particular favourite is the tab of things that she has done that she shouldn’t have that have so far added up to a lengthy nine years of grounding (yet to be served).
We haven’t seen the last of Montgomery Bonbon and her moustache and I’ll be the first in line to pick up her next case.
With huge thanks to Walker for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 8+.