Salt Spring Reads is an online book club/review. For this column I try to find books that you might love to discover, books with a Salt Spring connection. Reviewed books are available at the Salt Spring Library and in local bookstores. Feel free to share your comments to discuss this book with others.
The Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, Book 1) by Jordan Stratford
In 2012, Salt Spring Islander Jordan Stratford started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for, and gage interest in, his first novel. The story would be about two girls running a detective agency. One of his main characters was to be Lady Ada Byron, age 11. The other was Mary Godwin, age 14. The story takes place in London, England in 1826. But there was more to the story than that. Both girls are ‘real’ - Ada Lovelace is considered the world’s first computer programmer and Mary Shelley became the author of Frankenstein.
Jordan Stratford took liberties with the characters as well as the time line, putting the girls together to form a secret detective agency, even though in real life they were further apart in age.
But his Kickstarter supports loved the idea of the story. In no time at all, he had several thousands backers. In the end he raised $91,751 instead of the $4,000 he had hoped for. This enabled the book to grow into a series. And then Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of publishing house Random House, saw the potential and picked up the book.
The Random House website says: “Mystery fans will love this tween girl riff on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. History buffs will be delighted to see all the real figures who play a role in this story and appreciate the extensive backmatter that helps separate truth from fiction. Parents and educators hoping to promote the STEM fields for girls will be thrilled to have a series where two girls use math, science, and creative analytical thinking to solve crimes.”
I loved the backmatter and kept referring to it throughout the story - perhaps it should have been frontmatter. One of my favorite sideline characters was the boy in the carriage.
His website states that not everything on the site may be true. It says that “Jordan Stratford has been pronounced clinically dead, and was briefly (mistakenly) wanted by INTERPOL for international industrial espionage. He is an ordained priest, has won numerous sword fights, jaywalked the streets of Paris, San Francisco, and São Paulo, and was once shot by a stray rubber bullet in a London riot. He lives on a tiny windswept Pacific island populated predominantly by realtors and carnivorous gulls”. We all know that last statement isn’t true. But we are all booklovers and I think that you will find this story to be intriguing and fun to read for people of all ages, although it is aimed at those 8 - 12 years old.
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Jan. 6 2015)
Margriet Ruurs is a Salt Spring Island author of over 30 books. She runs Between The Covers, Booklovers’ B & B.