Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Mayfair Mysteries book 1 & 2 by Alex Carter

February 2011, Red Fox 
160 & 176 pages, Paperback
Review copies

Children's, 8+ years 

Friendships, mystery, hotels, villains, escaping pets, sparkly jewels, lots of humour, a lot of moderate to high peril, the highs and lows of having brothers, 
Summaries from Random House Children's Books 

FOUR best friends * ONE priceless necklace * And an actress with TWO personalities...

For Lauren and her friends, living in a luxury London hotel definitely has its perks... Like getting to meet the glamorous Isabella Duval when the megastar checks into Mayfair Park’s exclusive Ruby Suite.

But it seems that there are two sides to their famous guest.

Can the girls find out which is the real Isabella... and which is the act?

ONE top music executive * TWO poisoned slices of Mississippi Mud Pie * And FOUR budding detectives...

There’s another mystery to solve at Mayfair Park!

Lauren and her three best friends can’t believe their luck when top boy band, 4ever, arrive at Mayfair Park to shoot their new video.

But the girls soon discover that there is a much darker side to the music biz – and there are some people who will stop at nothing to reach the top . . .

Nayuleska's thoughts
When I was little, I loved reading Nancy Drew, The Babysitters Club (they did have adventures), and other girl related mysteries. When I took these out of the box of books, I fell in love with them because of the funky covers. I like how the girls are wearing different outfits in both pictures, which is made more realistic by the girls being in a different order. I felt that I'd enjoy the books. I was right! 

The premise is a fun one - Lauren's parents work at the hotel, so she gets to live there in a separate wing to the guests. It means her friends have somewhere safe to hang out - or not, as the case is in both books. Both books are fun to read and made me smile a lot. The girls are bubbly and it's funny listening to their thoughts on events in the hotel. They are quite different personalities - I'm with Lauren on the inability to keep things tidy! They have character profiles at the front of the books, which help to get a feel for what they are like. From the first few pages I instantly felt like I'd known the girls for ages. They have vivid imaginations, and are good at gathering facts to back up their theories (which are unfortunately true). There are smaller side plots alongside the main plot so the ending is always eagerly anticipated. 

The Case of the Ruby Necklace placed the girls in great danger as they end up crossing paths with thieves. I guessed on major plot twist (only because I've read it in other books), but there were still surprises along the way for me. What the girls did in this book was to help save the jewellery world from disaster, and they got their splash of fame in the media. 

There is more media coverage of the Mayfair hotel in The Case of the Poisoned Pie, although this time it isn't good publicity. The mystery of the poisoning puts the hotel in danger of losing its reputation. The girls are creative in how they find out proof of their accusations. 

Final conclusion 
These books are firm favourites of mine, and I happily give them both 10/10. The good news is that books 3 and 4 are due out this summer! Yay! I'm really looking forward to reading them, and seeing what their covers look like. 

Suggested reads 
For stories combining friendship, mysteries, major peril and lots of humour, 

Dying to be Famous by Tanya Landman (and the others in the series), definitely major peril here! 

The Littlest Detective in London by Suzy Brownlee  (and the others in the series)

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