The books in the Rose Raventhorpe Investigates series simply keep getting better with each instalment. Janine Beacham has created a wonderful fictional world in her city of ‘Yorke’, with secret passageways beneath the cobbled streets (known as the ‘Stairs Below’), magical cat statues which function as the guardians of Yorke, and a secret society of butlers who fight with rapiers and whose brave (and awesome) leader is a woman.
The first book, Black Cats and Butlers, introduces us to Rose herself, her family and her warrior-butler Argyle who – sadly – falls victim to a murderer early in the book. Rose uncovers a plot relating to the butlers and their secret society, grave-robbing and the cat guardians of the city of Yorke, and sets out to get to the bottom of whoever took her beloved Argyle from her.
In the second book, Rubies and Runaways, Rose and her compatriots in Silvercrest Hall (the headquarters of the butlers’ secret society) must unravel a mystery which begins in dramatic fashion: a young boy named Orpheus interrupts a service at Yorke Cathedral, saying that his younger sister has been kidnapped.
Naturally, Rose teams up with him to get his sister back, uncovering a sinister situation involving abducted children, dodgy orphanages and unscrupulous guardians. As well as that, Rose must fend off her odious cousin Herbert who is convinced he and Rose will be married when they’re older – and it all takes place against the backdrop of the coldest winter Yorke has seen in years…
The third book, Hounds and Hauntings, sees Rose, Orpheus and their butler friends tackle the case of a werewolf-like creature known as a Barghest, which some people believe to be supernatural in origin and under the control of a mysterious woman who may be a witch. Rose is not so sure, and believes the cause of the Barghest’s attacks is far more mortal in nature. She must contend with solving the mystery and also facing down the Wakemen, who are working to keep the citizens of Yorke under a yoke of terror.
These books are an underrated treasure. Fabulously well-written and plotted, they are fast-paced, gripping and addictive. The mysteries are well set up, and the city of Yorke is a character in itself. Rose is brilliant – sparky, clever, brave and quick to learn, she and the friends she makes along the way are the perfect companions as we navigate the streets (and the passageways underneath) of the marvellous city of Yorke. If you enjoy the novels of Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine and Imogen White, then the Rose Raventhorpe Investigates series is a must.
The Rose Raventhorpe Investigates books are published by Hachette and is available to be here.
A former journalist, Janine Beacham has written all her life. She has always loved fairy tales and fantasy, and as a child would make up games for her friends to play at school. Janine once entered a competition where the prize was a real-life butler – which partly inspired the secret society of butlers in the Rose Raventhorpe Investigates series. Janine lives in Western Australia with her family
Reviewed by Daniel Soule.
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