Anisha Accidental Detective- Serena Patel & Emma McCann

Banne Anisha Accidental Detective

This is such a cute and fun amateur detective story perfect for the 7-9 age group due to its balance of family and fun to mystery and challenge with a really good layered mystery to unpick with red herrings and clues aplenty. Yet it is still deep and complex enough to appeal to older readers too, its pretty brilliant!

I’m thoroughly looking forward to seeing more from Anisha and so is Littlefae, its perfect for her age group as it has the balance of mystery but without any violence or murders, dotted with humour and the bright and playful illustrative style from Emma McCann is the icing on the cake.

It’s the day of Anisha’s auntie’s wedding and its absolute mayhem. There’s tainted henna, a lobster on the loose, and worst of all a ransom letter through the door ordering the wedding to be cancelled by 7pm or the groom will disappear forever.

Anisha doesn’t want her already stressed auntie to hit total Bridezilla so she recruits her best friend Milo to investigate the note, the guests and the clues to see what the truth is and how they can save the day.

Illustration from Anisha Accidental Detective
Illustration by Emma McCann

Anisha and Milo are a brilliant double act summing up that wonderful mesh of science and feeling, head and gut, cynic and dreamer but respecting each other. 

Anisha’s reserved analytical mind doesn’t deal well with her Auntie’s Bridezilla drama but does apply well to solving the little secrets and mysteries that unfold as they investigate whether the ransom note is a joke or truth. Anisha’s methodical approach may occasionally end up with red faces but she certainly has a talent for noticing small details, seeking out the drama and seeing between the lines that is necessary to unpack the mystery.

Milo balances her out with his softness and imagination. His wide eyed sweetness is endearing even if his ‘Animal Intuition’ doesn’t seem to extend to the fact his cat Yasmine is the female Roundworld Greebo!*

Illustration from Anisha Accidental Detective
Illustration by Emma McCann

What I particularly liked about this book was its celebration of family, for good and for bad, in all its incarnations from nuclear to blended to multigenerational and extended. 

In so many books you have absent, useless or frantically distracted parents and often no wider family with always seems to present an idea that family is a negative or gets in the way of a child’s adventure and autonomy to the plot.  Here, Anisha’s family is big, loud and messy, just like so many real families are whether it reflects your own or not and she still has an adventure, in fact the mystery is in defence of her family.

From the older cousin who treats you like a toddler just because they are a teenager, to the hugs-too-hard relative, the uncle who thinks he’s a catch and the Drama Queen many may recognise tropes and maybe even real people and whilst you may not have had a live lobster on the loose in your house there’s plenty of other ridiculous stories that families could tell! 

Anisha: Accidental Detective celebrates the beloved eccentricities of family and empowers intergenerational friendships and alliances from getting to know the secret life of a new uncle to realising that your granny still has the spirit of a eleven year old mischief maker! 

Granny Jas is my dad’s mum and has always lived with us

For us reading Anisha: Accidental Detective the multigenerational family context is precious. We also live in a multigenerational setting by choice and design not by force of circumstances.

There aren’t many books out there that show multigenerational families as just a natural state or choice (ie without it being a result of something ‘dramatic’, health related or uncovering something upsetting) Sam Wu stories are another wonderful one that we can draw on so to find more positive and healthy representations of multigenerational families through Anisha’s relationship and the interplay between the various members of her family is a really lovely thing for Littlefae and indeed Tinyfae in time. 

Illustration from Anisha Accidental Detective
Illustration by Emma McCann

Overall, this is a fantastic start to a series that I can see becoming much beloved, for its #ownvoices representation, for its strong family values, for its fun and particularly for its outstanding clever mystery that isn’t about murder or anything too sinister (well let’s excuse one setting maybe! ssssh spoilers!) and so is accessible for the younger and more sensitive reader too.

Absolutely brilliant.

Anisha: Accidental Detective is written by Serena Patel and illustrated by Emma McCann and published by Usborne

Thank you to Fritha Lindquist and Usborne for my copy 💜

*For those yet to enjoy the delights of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld: Greebo is the cat of a famous witch Nanny Ogg who so loves her Greebo she only sees the fluffy wuffy kitten he was, and fails to see the vicious and merciless one-eyed street fighter cat he has become that causes grown strong men to quake in their boots.

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