By Super Kitty
“The Combination,” he muttered, “is a criminal organization. It’s a multi-headed serpent—a hydra, if you will—with an almost preternatural ability to remain invisible. Some might call it supernatural. You may see signs—the effects of their operations—but never the organization itself… And those who manage to unravel the mystery and get to the truth, well, they’re called mad. But when you know the truth, and everyone else believes the lie, who’s crazy then? Huh?”
Madman. Genius. Fool. Thirteen-year-old Darkus Knightly has heard all sorts of opinions about his father, the mysterious private eye Alan Knightly, but he has yet to form his own, after his father went into a coma four years ago. Instead, he’s stuck with his mom (who divorced and re-married shortly before Alan went unconscious), his stepfather (who cares about cars and not much else), and his stepsister Tilly (who’s just…weird. Very weird.) He’d give anything to get his father back—but when he does, it’s not exactly the way he planned. Instead, Darkus is pulled into a complex web of clever deceptions, following a set of cryptic evidence which seem to bear no connection to each other, yet may be the key to unlocking an ancient mystery which some might consider supernatural, some might consider a hoax, and a few—a very few—might consider a perfect first case.
I always enjoy a well-done mystery, so when I found Knightly and Son, I couldn’t resist getting it—and I wasn’t disappointed. The plot was full of twists and escapes, the characters were vivid and very original, and I particularly liked the writing style, which had a classic ‘private eye feel’ while still creating a cast which feels perfectly believable. I would recommend it for ages ten and up (although it isn’t a murder mystery, there are a few elements of the story that are more in that vein)—while that age range of readers would be fine, it is somewhat darker than most of the other mysteries we’ve reviewed here (including Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls and Book Scavenger). However, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would highly recommend it to readers who enjoy puzzles, action, and brilliant detectives.
P.S. This is the first in a series, which I have been thoroughly enjoying. You can find out more about them at www.knightleyandson.com.