I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on the debut #Muddlemoor Mysteries Blog Tour!
Ruth Quayle is such a fun and playful author who consistently manages to capture with tenderness that utter innocence of childhood that creates silly misunderstandings and vagaries of the imagination.
Ruth’s previous books including her Mabel series have been a success in this house and this series is a particularly perfect pitch between the accessible first chapter book of Mabel and those ready to move on but still wanting illustrations and not quite ready for ‘full on’ middle grade.
Joe is spending the summer with his Nan in the countryside, but he won’t be alone, his Welsh cousins Tom and Pip will be joining him, and whenever these three are together, well expect mischief and laughter.
Nan’s village is obsessed with two things, the tv soap Cul-de-Sac and the impending local Bake Off competition and Nan has got a potential winner in her apron, and ALL the neighbours want to know, especially Nan’s friend who the children find out used to be a SPY!
When Nan’s recipe goes missing the children are determined to find the culprit even if it does involve robots, poison, ghosts and itches.
The brand of humour is light hearted fun, silly series of funny Misunderstandings where silliness runs away with itself.
Parts of the book remind me of the kind of set ups in Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner especially the one when the police officers come to the Goodman house after a burglary- if you’ve ever seen that episode you will KNOW what I mean.
Joe is such a relatable character for child readers. He can’t quite keep still and is full of questions and his mouth runs away with him often determined to fill the awkward silence with that should not really be spoken.
There’s a a subtle humour that can be shared with a grown up reader such as where Joe doesn’t quite understand the little quips and shade that his mum serves, but also may resonate when adults say things that they don’t quiiiite get themselves that they are not the only ones and it’s ok.
All children (and adults) will know a Tom as well, an intelligent but highly strung Adrian Mole in waiting, but there is a gentle social observation of Tom’s anxiety and inability to cope at times with a tenderness that belies the humour is presentation of the book.
There is an empathetic approach as Joe recognises he doesn’t think or feel like this in the same situations but after conversations with his mum when he was younger just accepts that this is Tom, yeah it’s sometimes a bit over the top or seemingly out of nowhere but ‘it’s just Tom’. Which is a very precious sweetness and lovely attitude to encourage.
Scattered throughout are lovely illustrations by the wonderful Marta Kissi, there’s a playfulness and sense of movement throughout that keeps the reader turning pages and brings an enriched experience to the read.
The robot cat was a particular concept and illustration that Tinyfae ADORED and had her still pondering and even talking the next day to Littlefae about whether the cat was really a robot or not which is real testament to the magic of this book.
This is such a perfect light hearted and lovingly crafted novel, with a dash of my beloved Clifftoppers series with its sleuthing cousins camaraderie but Muddlemoor is for those wanting something more light hearted and silly and so perfect for those who love the giggles of books like Ruth and Julia Christians’ Magnificent Mabel and Philip Ardagh and Elissa Elwick’s Stick & Fetch but want or need a little more challenge or stamina building.
I’m thoroughly looking forward to the next mystery in Muddlemoor!
Please make sure to check out the other stops on the tour!!
The Muddlemoor Mysteries Peril at the Bake Off Ruth Quayle illustrated by Marta Kissi is published by Andersen Press
Thank you for my copy! 💜