Received from NetGalley for review.
Black Cats and Butlers was so much fun to read. It’s a middle-grade murder-mystery romp through Victorian London, complete with a secret service of Butlers and ancient prophecies regarding cat statues. How could that not be a winning combination?
The story focuses on Rose Raventhorpe, a young girl with a big imagination that doesn’t quite mesh with her mother’s ideas of propriety. She adores her Butler, Argyle, and is obviously distraught when he is murdered – stabbed on the doorstep of Rose’s home and clutching a black glove – more so as Argyle’s murder is the third murder of its kind. Rose’s investigation into Argyle’s murder leads, as the blurb suggests, on a ‘journey into a hidden world of grave robbers and duelling butlers, flamboyant magicians and the city’s ancient feline guardians’ and it is just as much of a fun journey as it sounds.
I absolutely adored Rose. She’s smart, imaginative, caring, and brave – a generally lovely and refreshing character to read. She makes mistakes but she always has the best intentions and wants nothing more than to find Argyle’s murderer and make sure that justice is served. The other butlers were hilarious – an elite group who are Guardians of Yorke, protecting the city and its inhabitants, and Heddsworth, Bronson, and Malone were excellent supporting characters to Rose’s investigation. Rose’s friend Emily was another hilarious addition, a wonderfully dramatic young lady in mourning for her beloved Pomeranian.
The story as a whole is brilliant – the writing is simple and easy to read, and I had such a good time reading it. It is a prime example of a fun, light read, and I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things that were happening. One of the most impressive things about this story is the atmosphere. Beacham has created an incredibly vivid world; Yorke is based on Yorkshire’s gorgeous city of York (a place I love) and it felt so real, all cobbled streets, great architecture, and hidden treasures.
It is very much a middle-grade story but I would highly recommend it for anyone wanting something light and heart-warming, I certainly found it a welcome break from the more intense novels I’ve been reading lately.
Read: February 20th-23rd 2017