Eleven-year-old Ada Byron is feeling bereft at the prospect of a tutor after her beloved governess gets married. After all, she’s a genius—what could he possibly teach her? She is not cheered, either, by the fact that a strange girl is coming to study with her: Mary Godwin, an intelligent and adventurous fourteen-year-old eager to make friends with Ada. And, despite a rocky start, friends they become. Soon, they have founded a detective agency and are on a case—gathering clues, developing suspects, making discoveries, and, in the process, getting into Newgate prison, riding an omnibus (roof!), and sailing high over London in a craft of their own making. One thing is for sure: nothing will get between these detectives and the apprehension of the criminals!
When I first picked up The Case of the Missing Moonstone, I thought it was going to be similar to other mysteries I had read. However, it was quite amusing, and the main characters (as well as some of the supporting cast) were based on real historical figures—the main characters were based on Ada Byron (daughter of Lord Byron) and Mary Shelly (author of Frankenstein). At the end, there is an author’s note which says which people were real, which was really interesting. And although the historical aspect was fascinating, it did not get in the way of the story. Even if you are not usually drawn to historical books (Piranha T. is typically not), it is still a really cool story in and of itself. It would probably be best for ages 8+. It is the first in The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency series, and there are currently two sequels out. If you are looking for a humorous, fun, and historical mystery with spunky female characters, The Case of the Missing Moonstone is the book for you!
Note: although many of the characters in The Case of the Missing Moonstone were based on real people, the story was entirely invented.