Thursday 17 September 2015

Verity Sparks and the Scarlet Hand

Verity Sparks and the Scarlet Hand by Susan Green (Walker Books)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 9781922244895

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Here’s another sparkling and riveting Verity Sparks’ mystery. She’s my favourite heroine; a girl who is clever, optimistic, fearless, logical and compassionate.  She has a sharp mind and several secret gifts.  The Scarlet Hand is set in Castlemaine, Victoria, in the 1880s. Verity is now fifteen years old.

SP proposes to Drucilla, Verity’s governess in front of everyone and she is so embarrassed that she goes to stay with the Leviny family in Castlemaine for a while. Verity and family are also invited to stay with Papa’s dear friend Nicky Petrov in Castlemaine. Secrets are revealed and strange and unusual events awaken Verity’s curiosity, and her gifts once again come into play.

During her stay, Verity sees a woman that looks identical to the photo of her mother. Who is Della Parker and why is she following Verity around? Della gives Verity a fan that belonged to her mother. This starts a series of mysterious visions that Verity must examine, and a new investigation begins.

Drucilla and Nicky’s wife Helen are abducted and held for ransom. Who are the abductors and what significance does the scarlet glove have? Verity’s gift is creating too many questions. Will she be able to draw on her courage and gifts and shuffle the pieces into place; to sort out the puzzle and save her friends?

As always, delightful morsels of information are left to tantalise the reader. There is more than one story happening in each of Verity’s books, which are joined together by some common thread. As Verity is trying to solve her mystery, the reader is simultaneously trying to piece together their own little puzzles.

Susan Green’s writing is crisp and sharp. Nothing superfluous can be found. It’s fast-paced, with a strong narrative voice that keeps the reader on their seat, turning pages. I can never put a Verity Sparks book down unfinished. I’m always hooked from the first page. This thrilling mystery adventure is ideal for the 10+ age group.

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