25th March 2014, Fierce Ink Press, 258 pages, Paperback/ebook, ARC ebook copy
Themes: detective work, losing a loved one, inquisitiveness, studying pays off, freedom to pursue your passion, following clues, being duped, having fun,deception,
Content: some danger and really tense moments, a tragedy, lots of humour, murder, theft, tissue needed
Summary from Amazon (I don't get anything by mentioning them)
There's a new detective at 221 Baker Street Set against the background of 1930s England, Jewel of the Thames introduces Portia Adams, a budding detective with an interesting - and somewhat mysterious - heritage. Nineteen-year-old Portia Adams has always been inquisitive. There's nothing she likes better than working her way through a mystery. When her mother dies, Portia puzzles over why she was left in the care of the extravagant Mrs. Jones but doesn't have long to dwell on it before she is promptly whisked from Toronto to London by her new guardian.
Once there Portia discovers that she has inherited 221 Baker Street - the former offices of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Portia settles into her new home and gets to know her downstairs tenants, including the handsome and charming Brian Dawes. She also finds herself entangled in three cases: the first involving stolen jewelry, the second a sick judge and the final case revolving around a kidnapped child. But the greatest mystery of all is her own. How did she come to inherit this townhouse? And why did her mother keep her heritage from her? Portia has a feeling Mrs. Jones knows more than she is letting on. In fact, she thinks her new guardian may be the biggest clue of all.
Summary from Nayuleska
Squee! I love this book! I was puzzled by what age range it was for because I'd forgotten what I'd read in the press info I received. After all, Portia is 19, so a late teenager but other than the odd disguised swear word and 1 phrase there is next to nothing of romance, be it obvious or discreet, which is why I didn't think it was young adult. Well, it makes such a change to not have teen hormones the centre of the plot!
*happy sigh* This is so my kind of book. Portia's voice is easy and fun to read. I usually don't figure plots out but I was proud to figure out part of the 3rd case-I did read the book almost in one sitting so maybe her powerful skill of reasoning things through rubbed off a little on me. The cases were tricky, but not so much that I couldn't understand where Portia got her inklings from. I loved watching her skills as a detective grow, from her not the best put together disguise, to that eventful long night where she had her first stake out, to having her own brush with death.
Her guardian....I really can't say much other than she is rather ace and very understanding with major plot twists that made me teary -eyed. I don't have an interest in Sherlock Holmes at all, and even after reading Portia's first adventure don't plan on reading any works about the famous detective-simply because I prefer female protagonists, which Portia is, obviously. The balance of thrills vs not an overwhelming sense of doom and gloom is what makes this book shine. It's a fun, fairly light read, one that I shall reread for sure!
Find out more on Angela's website.
For more a slightly darker mystery requiring detective skills (of sorts) check out The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (Young Adult, 10E/10E)
Author Questions & Answers + Competition
It's with great pleasure that I was able to have a Q&A session with Angela - her answers are as awesome as her book - thanks Angela! After the Q&A you'll be able to enter a competition to win an ebook copy of Jewel of the Thames too. ^o^
Nayu 1) Portia is a wonderfully independent young lady, and I love how much freedom she has despite unexpectedly having a guardian. Is Portia's final situation one you expected from the first draft, or has it evolved throughout the edits?
Angela: It evolved for sure. I actually did a lot of research into just how much freedom a 19-year old woman in Canada could expect to have in 1930, and then did more research when applied to 1930s London. I needed to know if she needed a guardian at all, if she could own property, if she could inherit from her mother etc etc. But I also knew that for Portia to be an effective detective (ooh that sounds clever!) she had to have as much freedom to operate as a man. So yes, through Mrs. Jones and her wealth, I have given Portia that freedom to explore London, her family and her chosen profession in a way that (I hope) is believable and sustainable.
Nayu: It's most definitely agreeable Angela, no worries about that!
Nayu: 2) Portia's heritage proves slightly problematic at school and elsewhere - do the problems she encounters balance out the relative freedom she has with Mrs Jones? Did you ever imagine Mrs Jones as being a stricter character?
Angela: Portia constructs more boundaries than anyone else in her life, and as you surmised, it is a balance. Mrs. Jones is a free spirit, someone who has always followed her own instincts (sometimes to her detriment) and other than worrying for Portia’s safety, will never push rules onto her. Portia’s naturally introverted nature constructs walls around her, some of which will need to come down if she is to fully blossom into the detective we all want her to be.
Nayu: 3) I confess that Sherlock Holmes has never interested me, but, because you've created such a lovable female relative I now at least tolerate learning about the famous detective. Where did you get the inspiration for Portia? What was your aim when you first started writing about her adventures, and how did this evolve over the course of the story?
Angela: I have always read detective fiction - starting with Nancy Drew when I was a little kid, progressing through the Agatha Christie mysteries and onto Sherlock Holmes in my early teens. I love following clues and figuring stuff out, it’s just something I have always done, so when Portia started to form in my mind (my late teens when I was in University) she was a detective right from the start. When I read Stephen King’s homage to Conan Doyle (called ‘The Doctor’s Case’ ) I realized I could place my female detective in a space I already loved - 221 Baker Street. Once I did that, I just followed where Portia led me, and continues to lead me.
Nayu: I read Nancy Drew too! Currently listening to her adventures on audio book.
Nayu: 4) If you could spend a day with Portia, what would you do? Where would you go?
Angela: Probably a crime scene to be honest. She’s a bit like Richard Castle (TV) in that she loves being at the scenes, walking around, thinking about the possibilities… so that’s probably what she’d want to do.
Nayu: I've started watching Castle (TV) & it's awesome - I can see why Portia's like him.
Nayu: 5) What's your favourite food & drink for while you write?
Angela: I love green or jasmine tea while I write, but I don’t generally eat. I like to get up and eat because otherwise I might succumb to the dangers of a very flat butt from writing all day!
The winner has been announced here.
For more details of other stops on the tour check out the schedule on Fierce Ink's website.