Title: The Violet Veil Mysteries: A Case of Misfortune
Author: Sophie Cleverly
Genre: Crime, Historical Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Published: 19th January 2022
Synopsis: The second title in this breakout new detective series, from the author of the spine-tingling Scarlet and Ivy series.
Violet Veil is ready for her next big case and with trouble afoot at the Grecian Theatre, Violet and her dog Bones are hot on the trail. But just who is the mysterious fortune-teller, Lady Athena, whose predictions keep coming true? Is it all just a case of smoke and mirrors? Or is there something more sinister going on…?
Violet Veil, her beloved dog, Bones, and good friend, Oliver Oats (a.k.a Jack Danger) are back with Eleni and Niko, and a new mystery to solve – that of Lady Athena and her psychic talents, and a series of deaths linked to the theatre, and Violet’s father’s rival undertaker business. Amidst all this, the Grecian Theatre is putting on a performance of Macbeth – referred to a ‘the Scottish play’ throughout, and playing on theatre superstitions of things going wrong if you say ‘Macbeth’. In this second outing, Violet has to find a way to balance being a girl in Victorian times with her desire to be who she is and what her passions are. Delightfully, her parents seem to want her to find this balance, her mother even saying that Violet may be able to achieve her dreams in the future, though for the moment, she must help her parents.
The second mystery is just as engaging as the first, and I would recommend reading A Case of Grave Danger first though, so the characters are established in your mind, especially with Oliver and Violet’s desire to be her father’s apprentice (which admittedly, I don’t think came up as much in this book but there was still a hint that this was what she wanted). In this outing, we discover new things about Violet and her uncanny ability to uncover the truth comes out as she navigates a relationship with Niko and Eleni and a betrayal that will hurt them all. It is thrilling whilst being gentle and calm, allowing child readers to get a taste of detective and crime fiction without too much gore, and I love that it has an appeal for older readers too. I love crime, yet sometimes even I need a break from the grittier shows and stories, and series like Violet Veil fit the bill perfectly.
She sits neatly alongside all the child characters who investigate mysteries or become embroiled in mysteries, and each one is unique, whilst still playing with the well-known tropes that have been with us since the days of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie and into the novels, shows and movies that exist today with many iconic and beloved crime fighters and detectives, in many different iterations so that there is something for everyone to enjoy. Much like the Famous Five, Violet has a dog – Bones. I think Bones has good intuition and I have read a few crime stories where the animals play a crucial role in solving the crime and at times, even tell part of the story.
This series is fun and thrilling, allowing girls, and children, to drive the action and show a different side to Victorian times. I think it is a series that will gain many fans over the years, and one that will certainly introduce new readers to a fantastic genre that often has a little bit of everything in it.