The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency: The Case of the Girl in Grey by Jordan Stratford
Publisher: Knopf BFYR
Publishing Date: January 26
Genre: middle grade, historical fiction, mystery
The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency was supposed to be a secret constabulary, but after the success of their first case, all of London knows that Lady Ada and Mary are the girls to go to if you have a problem.
Their new case is a puzzle indeed. It involves a horrible hospital, a missing will, a hasty engagement, and a suspiciously slippery servant.
But Mary’s stumbled onto a mystery of her own. She spotted a ghostly girl in a grey gown dashing through the park. A girl who is the spitting image of their new client.
The two cases must be linked . . . or else there’s a perfectly supernatural explanation.
Ada and Mary have two new detectives in their agency — their sisters — whether they like it or not. But the sisters prove to be of assistance when another case crops up, one that requires understanding the class system and social etiquette. But Mary is certain this case may be linked to an almost supernatural one she and Charles stumbled upon: a girl in grey, quite distressed, and one who seems to know a thing or two about the case the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency is working on.
I love how Stratford manages to share bits and pieces of the true Ada and Mary (and Charles and Claire and Percy) in his mystery novels for MG readers. We know what these children and young adults become later on in life, and though there’s some fudging with the timelines, it’s all excellently written and fun.
This case echoes another Wilkie Collins book, The Woman in White. It also has more character development for our adorable protagonists. Ada is obsessed with codes, which becomes incredibly helpful in solving this case. Mary is growing up and it appears she’s becoming chummy with Percy (*squeal*). But you can always rely on Ada to be awkward with people and for Mary to point it out and smooth over. Some things never change.
Cute, clever, and darker than the first, this next installment of the Wollstonecraft mystery series is a bit more gothic and a tad less humorous. As I’m familiar with Woman in White, I knew within the first 30 pages which direction the book was going, but it’s still an excellent introduction to gothic for MG readers. Can’t wait for more!
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from Knopf BFYR for review!