Another fun, glittering mystery. 4/5.
Look at how beautiful that book is! Silver embossing, my friends!!!
The blurb: The honour of your company is requested at Lord Beaucastle’s fancy dress ball. Wonder at the puzzling disappearance of the Jewelled Moth! Marvel as our heroines, Sophie and Lil, don cunning disguises, mingle in high society and munch many cucumber sandwiches to solve this curious case! Applaud their bravery as they follow a trail of terrible secrets that leads straight to London’s most dangerous criminal mastermind, and could put their own lives at risk… It will be the most thrilling event of the season!
This is a fast-paced and compelling mystery adventure with gorgeous Edwardian period detail. This is Mr Selfridge meets Nancy Drew!
I reviewed the first book in this series, The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow, last year. I bought it because the beautiful blue and yellow cover with gold embossing called to me. And then, once it was in my clutches, the blurb made it sound like a fun mash up of Nancy Drew and Mr Selfridge. And it turned out to be just that. I enjoyed it a great deal and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on book 2 and more of Sophie and Lil’s adventures.
I’ve gone back and read my review of book 1 and, to be honest, I have little to add for this review for book 2: Jewelled Moth is more of the same excellent stuff.
While the action in Clockwork Sparrow is mostly confined to Sinclair’s (the large London department store where our heroines work), we get out and about round Edwardian London far more in Jewelled Moth. We visit the early twentieth-century slums of the East End, London’s original China Town, and the glamorous world of young socialites “coming out” for their first season. All these locations are described in just enough detail to bring them alive without distracting us from the central mystery.
Can you read this book without reading Clockwork Sparrow first? Yes and no. Yes, of course you can, and I’m sure you’d enjoy it. But I’d recommend you read book 1 first so you meet Sophie and Lil as they take on their first case. You’ll also have a better understanding of who “the Baron” – the series’ big baddie – is.
Speaking of Sophie and Lil, I love that we have two heroines at the heart of these stories: two young women who are smart, capable and brave. Also, as is age appropriate (Sophie has only just turned 15 at the start of the book), the book is refreshingly free of any romance to distract our semi-professional sleuths.
I must give special mention to Júlia Sardà’s wonderful illustrations. More of this sort of thing!
And who wouldn’t want these two lovely books on their shelf?
Overall: while I likened Clockwork Sparrow to a slice of cake, I’d say Jewelled Moth is more like an iced bun. It’s not as fluffy as its predecessor, but just as moreish. I can’t wait for book 3!
Claire Huston / Art and Soul