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The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Drama and Danger: New for 2022, a mystery-filled detective story for children, perfect for fans of Robin Stevens!: Book 1

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It is very interesting reading their letters to one another as it portrays their friendship in a way that description couldn’t, and I imagine that the author took time to ensure that the wording of the letters was perfect and even the font that she used resembles the characters in a very clear way. Elizabeth Sancho’s and Dido Belle’s eyes meet across the crowds at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, where Lizzie’s father was about to be the first black man to play Shakespeare’s Othello in a production by David Garrick.

There are twists and turns throughout and I really felt that I was there witnessing this crime unfold. Her father is to play Othello, a character in a play by William Shakespeare – he is the first Black man to do so, making it a momentous performance in history. To add to that, there were some scenes in the book that more sensitive readers might find unnerving. From the descriptions of the Jamaica Coffee House to the candle lit theatre chandeliers Georgian London is vividly brought to life. They went to Garrick, who was the Director of the play: he felt the dropping of the chandelier was an accident and the show should go on.

The author has done a good job of adding historical facts within the storyline without it feeling like a history lesson.

And when Lizzie’s actor father is nearly killed by a falling chandelier, they both know it wasn’t an accident. The next instalment The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Portraits and Poisoning is coming soon and I cannot wait to read it. Ond pan maen nhw’n dal llygaid ei gilydd yn y theatr un noson, mae’r ddwy wrth eu boddau o weld merch Ddu arall o’r un oed.Overall, I think this book would be best suited to children over 10 years old who aren’t easily upset. At one point in the story, Lizzie and Belle have a fall out: however, they put their own feelings aside and get along better than before. She is passionate about storytelling to give voice to those rarely heard and walks the city to uncover its secrets. I assumed that there would be no mention of racism whatsoever, as the book started so lighthearted (minus Ignatius’s injury), but it does, and in good detail.

The second id the theatre, where the crime happens, and is therefore the main place of investigation.The three main settings are Lizzie’s house (a café) where there are many visitors and it is warm, snug and usually busy. Later in life Iwould come into contact with more authors in the genre that portrayed ladies as main characters.

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