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The Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, Book 1)

Review

The Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, Book 1)

Written by Jordan Stratford with illustrations by Kelly Murphy

Ada Lovelace is used to spending most of her time alone in a wicker basket attached to a balloon floating from the top of her house. All that changes quite suddenly, however, when a new tutor, Percy (or Peebs, as Ada likes to call him) shows up with a girl named Mary, who is just a little bit older than Ada. Peebs is supposed to tutor both Ada and Mary, but when you get two strong-willed and intelligent girls together, you can imagine that tutoring is the last thing on their minds.

What is on their mind is something quite unexpected --- crime.  After scouring the newspapers and seeing how dumb criminals can be, Ada and Mary decide to open up a private detective agency because surely they could solve crimes just as easily as anyone else. Of course, given that it’s London and the year 1826, it would be entirely preposterous for two teenage girls to run a detective agency. It just wouldn’t be proper, and if anyone knew, no one would take two girls seriously. Which is why Ada and Mary decide to make their agency a secret. And only a few short weeks after they run an advertisement for the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency in the London Times, the girls have their first case: The case of the missing moonstone.

Apparently, the young Rebecca Verdigris had a rare necklace stolen, the Acorn of Ankara, at her most recent birthday party.  The suspects include her fiancé, Mr. Datchery; Rebecca’s mother; a family friend, Mr. Abernathy; and the servant girl, Rosie. Ada and Mary learn that Rosie has already confessed to the crime, but Rebecca is convinced that Rosie is not telling the truth and the thief is still at large. So it’s up to the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, or Ada and Mary, to solve the case!

Smart and clever girls who think they know better than anyone else (and probably do) will enjoy this refreshing mystery and the start to what’s sure to be an intriguing series.

As easy as this case appears with just four suspects, the girls start running into some problems. First, they decide they should visit Rosie in prison to hear her side of the story, but getting into prison is easier said than done. Second, Ada and Mary stumble upon someone breaking into Ada’s home, but the person escapes before the girls can discern any details. Finally, and most alarmingly, the girls receive a letter from Ada’s mother saying that the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency must be shut down --- or else! Will the girls shut down the detective agency, or will they stop at nothing to solve the case of the missing moonstone?

Author Jordan Stratford has taken two historical figures, Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelly (author of FRANKENSTEIN) and created a story imagining what they would have been like as young girls and best friends. Smart and clever girls who think they know better than anyone else (and probably do) will enjoy this refreshing mystery and the start to what’s sure to be an intriguing series.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on January 21, 2015

The Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, Book 1)
(The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency #1)
Written by Jordan Stratford with illustrations by Kelly Murphy