Scotland Yard are appealing for witnesses. Egyptian artefacts valued at over ten million pounds have been stolen from a locked display case and the world of antiquities is in uproar. Sounds like a case for The Adventurers, renowned band of 21st century mystery-solvers (Think the Famous Five armed with Google and GPS). The Adventurers and the City of Secrets by Jemma Hatt is a spirited crime caper through the streets of London. In this, the third book in the series, their mission is to track down two thieving master criminals via the city’s hidden trails and tunnels.
This is such a fun read. Rammed to the rafters with cartoonish villainy and thrills and spills, it tells the story of a bunch of kids and their canine pal, Barney. In a previous adventure, a hair-raising chase across Egypt had culminated in their unearthing some ancient treasures. How very gratifying then to be invited to the London Society of Egyptologists annual luncheon, to be presented with a thankyou plaque.
Amongst this gathering of academic luminaries, the kids’ attention is drawn by the curious behaviour of a woman at the edge of the room. They know never to assume you can automatically trust a genteel older lady in beige and floral attire, and when a shocked security guard announces that the artefacts have vanished, she becomes The Adventurers’ prime suspect.
Their subsequent mad dash around London is marvellously entertaining, as they follow clues, decipher codes, and descend into the belly of the city. Readers will be delighted to find them exploring disused tube lines under Charing Cross Station, popping out of a manhole in Trafalgar Square, and commandeering a bus from the London Transport Museum, in their headlong pursuit of the culprits. Make no mistake, these criminals are utterly ruthless and may even be wielding deadly weapons.
Blytonesque but also surely influenced by the fabulous Pat Hutchins, this is an easy read fizzing with fun and energy.
The Adventurers and the City of Secrets by Jemma Hatt is published by Elmside Publishing, 194 pages.