Rose's mother and Joshua's father have disappeared. Police inquiries have gone nowhere, but Rose and Joshua still believe that they are alive. Joshua is determined to work out the meaning of the cryptic ‘murder’ notebooks they have discovered. Rose receives some odd, desperate messages from Rachel, a former best friend, followed by the terrible news that Rachel is dead. But what does Rachel have to do with their parents?
©2013 Anne Cassidy (P)2013 W F Howes Ltd
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"Murder or suicide? Conspiracy theories abound."
Not sure. This is the second book in the series. I didn't think it was a good as the first one because the first half of the book was spent filling in Rose's background when she was at boarding school. The content felt a bit like an Enid Blyton at times. I'm not sure the amount of detail was needed, but it was useful in giving substance to the plot later on.
I would recommend this book to people taking a holiday in and around North Norfolk. It can be fun to have a book to listen to in the car that is based in the place you are staying. It can take forever to get from one place to another in and around Holt, Stiffkey, Cromer etc, so this can help the time pass in a pleasant way. You can even visit locations and shops to see where the action happened.In the first book, the action was set in London. This time, the action moves to Holt and Stiffkey in North Norfolk.
We now know the pattern of plot from book one; the main mystery is for Rose to solve and helps her develop emotionally as she moves from teen to adult. The background story which weaves through both books (and future books) is her step brother's quest to find their missing parents. The two work on solving their mysteries independently, meaning that the two storylines could easily stand alone in separate books. Rose and Joshua only work together on the odd occasion.
At the end of the book I was not so eager to find out what happens next. I lost count of the times that peoples throats constricted! It appears that all characters feel emotion via the throat. It got tiresome. Likewise, little fragments of plot were repeated not long after the first mention. I didn't feel this was for the reader's benefit, rather it was poor writing.
One of the guest star characters for this book was a local youth by the name of Tim Baker. It's pretty obvious he works at a shop called Bakers and Larner's in Holt. The description fit the old fashioned department cum food store well. We don't get told this is the shop though (it would probably result in libel cases). I mention this because Tim's father was a gardener at Rose's school. Tim drove a BMW, yet worked behind the counter at a food shop. His sister attended the very expensive boarding school along with Rose. How on earth could he have afforded a BMW and the family a boarding school place on a gardeners wage? It would have made more sense just to have Tim as the store owners son. It's a small point, but it really nagged at the plot in terms of believability. It didn't fit the plot line well enough. So much attention to detail was given elsewhere, but not here. Sloppy. It stuck out like a sore thumb.
What am I saying? Believability! It's a work of fiction. You have to suspend belief in places, but you'll really be wishing it was true. A YA audience will probably have no problem believing that the plot line could easily mirror reality and is a great plot line for conspiracy theorists. I'm a half empty reviewer, so tend to focus on the negative. There's plenty in the book to keep all listeners interested. There a tiny hint at romance that will appeal to girls but not be enough of a diversion to give boys the yuk factor. There's a bit of scare and thriller for all, but nothing to classify the film of the book above a 12A!
As with the first book, Nancy Drew (aka Rose) suddenly appears near the end. It's not as crass as the first book. It more toned down and believable this time.
For listeners who live in and around where the book is set, the mispronunciation of Stiffkey may drive them to distraction. However, I don't really think we can blame the narrator for this. Stiffkey looks like a simple word to pronounce. Stookey is nearer the pronunciation. The voices are the same as before, with lovely renditions of upper class ladies in the making!
You remember the boy who cried wolf don't you.....
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