#20BooksOfSummer 5: Rose Raventhorpe Investigates: Black Cats and Butlers – Janine Beacham

#20BooksOfSummer is an annual event hosted by Cathy Brown of 746 Books and runs from 1st June until 1st September With the aim to clearing a target of 5, 10 or 20 books from your TBR but with very relaxed and fun rules.

Here is my joining post & List!

Rose Raventhorpe Investigates: Black Cats and Butlers – Janine Beacham 

Rose Raventhorpe investigates by Janine Beacham
Cover design by Lisa Horton

On Rose Raventhorpe’s birthday she discovers her beloved butler Argylle dying in the marble hallway. 

Murders of butlers and disappearance of the city’s legendary cat statues lead Rose and her best friend Emily to discover a centuries old secret organisation of Guardians who are determined to uncover who us behind the devastating events, and top of the list of suspects are the Crows, a shadowy group of body snatchers haunting the local cemeteries. 

5 key words

Murder Guardians Skullduggery Cats Gothic 

I thoroughly enjoyed Black Cats and Butlers as it introduces us to the world of Yorke, a reality adjacent Victorian imagining of York where butlers are members of a secret organisation of city guardians. 

There’s a phrase isn’t it! Reality adjacent Victorian imagining- what do I mean by this? Basically Janine Beacham has taken care to evoke a mid Victorian period with fashions, transport, food and local dialect but in order to fit her Secret Guardians plot, she has shifted York into this almost real but different enough to be fictional Yorke with its streets named Gates after the Viking ‘gata’-street and where body snatchers still prowl the cemeteries. 

Beyond Emily, she could see the sunny blue skies of the city, and the skyline with its towering cathedral.

Rose, all fizzy with duty and honour is a great heroine and her best friend Emily Proops is an absolute joy as an excitable ‘bubblegum princess’ going through her Gothic stage mourning her Pomeranian in head to toe black and tear catcher.  One of my favourite scenes is where Emily unabashedly pulls out a full scrapbook on a certain suspect she has taken a liking to which has echoes of a BTS Army fan crossed with Princess Poppy from Trolls’ intense scrapbooking meets Gen Z’s ability to find anything on the internet to show receipts! 

The mystery and investigation of the crimes led by Rose and Emily with the butlers hiding outside ready to support fits the children’s mystery setting beautifully. The stretch that a 12 year old would do these things wouldn’t stand in a adult mystery but here, Rose’s social standing as the daughter of the city’s Lord and the underestimation given to children in Victorian times fits beautifully with the exciting plot, and doesn’t feel unrealistic within the realms of this tale and will fire the hearts of the intended age group who want to be special and trusted too, just like Rose. 

I say we give Miss Raventhorpe a chance to prove herself… She’s clever and brave, and resourceful, and knows the city well.


Overall, I’m encouraged to buy the next two in the set as it has been a rather fun read!! 

Rose Raventhorpe Investigates: Black Cats and Butlers by Janine Beacham is published by Little Brown Books (Hachette)

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