Book review: The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford

The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency
The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency

by Jordan Stratford; art by Kelly Murphy

This gem of a book was a find by my personal shopper, Daphne. She was searching Amazon and this book showed up on the first page. Daphne thought it sounded cute and would be something I would like. She was right. I love cozy mysteries (though I am a history, classics, and Harry Potthead fan) and even though this one was written for middle school aged children, I had fun and believe it or not, I learned some British history at the same time.

The story is set in Victorian England and the characters are based on real people like the wild man of a poet, Lord Byron, the cranky Lady Byron, Mary Shelley  who wrote Frankenstein, a genius of a mathematician named Babbage, the young Miss Ada Byron, and a few other people of fame in that era. If I reveal them all it will take the mystery out of some of the characters.

The author manipulated the ages of the characters a little to make the story work, and work it did. Miss Ada was in actuality a genius and was considered to be the world’s first computer programmer. Bet you didn’t know that, did you? Mary Shelley is considered to be the first science fiction writer. How about that?

Young Lady Ada Byron is cranky and rude and not observant of the human condition. She is into books, books, and math, and science and calculations. She is content to live in the house with just the butler. The older Lady Byron has moved to a home in the country.

Miss Mary is somehow given the chance to tutor with Lady Ada under a fellow named Peebs. Each day she goes to the manor for lessons and then returns back home again. Mary loves the dictionary and reading, but she has grace and social tact. It’s a rocky start but the two become best friends. They become bored and decide to form a detective agency. Their first customer is a young lady whose special pendant given to her as a birthday gift is stolen.

Throw in 3 men in fezzes, an imposter, a hot air balloon, a silent and stern butler who only responds to Lady Ada, and a runaway tug boat, and you’ve got yourself a mystery with mayhem.

This is book number one of the series. I enjoyed it so much I plan to get book two. I am in my later middle age, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a book written for the younger set. Take a step back in time to enjoy a fun and well-crafted read.

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