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Emily Lime, Librarian Detective: The Pencil Case by Dave Shelton

Title: Emily Lime, Librarian Detective: The Pencil Case

Three kids on a yellow shield. The girl in the middle is poking through a picture frame, and another girl has a camera. The boy is shrugging. Emily Lime, Librarian Detective: The Pencil Case by Dave Shelton.

Author: Dave Shelton

Genre: Historical Fiction, Crime

Publisher: David Fickling Books

Published: 1st March 2022

Format: Paperback

Pages: 336

Price: $16.99

Synopsis: Crikey! Sharpen your pencils and top up your thermos flasks – you’re off to St Rita’s School for Spirited Girls, in the second hilarious Emily Lime: Librarian Detective story!

It’s a new term at St Rita’s, and there’s been a robbery at an art gallery! Enter Emily Lime, Librarian Detective extraordinaire…

Along with her loyal partners-in-crime-solving Daphne and George, Emily must track down the thief… and get rid of their new headmistress, who threatens the very future of the library… and work out why there’s a herd of cows on the school playing field! There’s no time to lose!

Full of laughs and brilliant illustrations, this is a must for middle-grade mystery fans.


  • Middle-grade crime novels have never been more popular.
  • Perfect for fans of Robin Stevens and Katherine Woodfine.


Emily Lime, assistant librarian, and her assistants, Daphne, and the only boy who attends St Rita’s School for Spirited Girls, George, are back. The school has been shaken up, with new teaching appointments and new rules – no head girl, no library tickets – no sort of order at all! When the girls and George toddle off to the Pilkington Art Gallery for an excursion, a painting is stolen amidst the arrival of the new teachers – Miss Deakins for art, Mrs Fotheringjay for sports, and Miss Quirk as the French Mistress, as well as Miss Woolley as the new headmistress. It’s all very suspicious, and it is up to Emily Lime, Daphne, and George to find out what is going on, especially after someone nobody ever suspected comes under suspicion!

Set in 1954, the second in this series is a brand-new story with well-established characters. The setting is a typically English one that suits the time it is set in, giving a nostalgic feeling, but also, hilariously and imaginatively illustrating what boarding schools in the 1950s, in England, were like. The book is filled with memorable and amusing characters, and Emily lime’s passion for books and readings shines through, making her a character that kids will love. It celebrates friendship, libraries, and mysteries all in one, which is very attractive and engaging.

I loved the way Daphne, Emily, and George supported each other, and the drive that they had to uncover a crime, which led to something more complex by the end of the book, which is usually the case in mystery stories. It carefully uses all the tropes and plot devices in the mystery genre to create a fun and engaging story that seems to have action on every page. There are some events and instances that might seem like red herrings, however, everything that happens is important and whilst they might seem innocuous at first, like in any good mystery, they become important later.

Astute readers will appreciate this and will be keen to try and piece everything together as they read, though it is also fun to uncover the mystery at the end with everyone else, and discover what is really behind the theft of the painting. Everything is intertwined with the fate of the library and books, and it is Emily’s library and love of books that helps to solve the case in the end.

This is a fun series that sees the kids take charge for much of the investigation before handing over to the police to take care of those at the heart of the crimes towards the end of the book. Of course, there are one or two red herrings thrown in for good measure, which are effectively executed throughout the novel until it reaches its brilliant conclusion, and wraps up another Emily Lime story for keen middle grade readers!

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