Tuesday, 12 October 2021

The Midnight Thief by Sylvia Bishop illustrated by Flavia Sorrentino review by Lynda Waterhouse


The Midnight Thief is a pitch perfect middle grade mystery.

Freya Robinson is attending Throgmorton’s School for Girls, a posh boarding school. She is getting this ‘Proper Education’because her archaeologist father has found the seven ivory Eldrida Dragons that were, ‘famous in AngloSaxon legend, but no-one had been sure they existed.’

Freya soon discovers that life at Throgmorton’s is nothing like the schools she read about in books with ‘midnight feasts, featuring lots of condensed milk.’ She has fallen foul of the headmistress and Abigail, the head girl and is miserable and lonely.

‘Freya was in the school attic when she found the bat. It was a very ordinary sort of bat, but it was about to change everything, whether it wanted to or not.’

Freya meets Daniel and Esmie, two wildlife obsessed twins who, when they are not hanging upside down, observe and care for the local bat population. They are keen to discover why the bats are waking up early from their hibernation.

Freya sneaks out to meet the twins at midnight on the very night that all seven of the Eldrida Dragons go missing. Who is the midnight thief? And can Freya find them before the Dragons are lost forever?

There is a long list of possible suspects including several of the eccentric teachers at the school, Mrs Clod the school keeper, Abigail the Head girl and her new found friend Daniel. The plot zips along with enough twist and turns to keep the reader guessing.

Each chapter has a final page recounted by an omniscient narrator who provides fascinating information and insights about the animals, birds and insects that have appeared in that chapter.

Flavia Sorrentino’s illustrations create a strong sense of place. The  story is told with warmth, humour and just the right amount of jeopardy. The boarding school story is a path well travelled from Angela Brazil, Enid Blyton through St Trinian’s to Robin Stevens. The Midnight Thief is a pleasing addition to the genre.




1 comment:

Penny Dolan said...

Sounds fascinating! I really liked her Erica's Elephant, though that's definitely for younger children.