It’s our turn on The Titanic Detective Agency blog tour today and we really enjoyed this one.
Written by Lindsay Littleson The Titanic Detective Agency is historical fiction and I really liked the fact it was based around the stories of real people.
I imagined it was going to focus on the sinking of the Titanic straight away. Most books seem to start with people boarding it and waving goodbye and then go straight to the crash but The Titanic Detective Agency reminds you that the people on board were real people and that this was a huge adventure for them. You see how excited they were, and how quickly being stuck on a ship with just adults for company got boring for the children and also realised how seasick some people were, it reminds you that these were just normal people off to start their new lives.
To pass the time until she starts her exciting new life in America, 12 year old Bertha and her new younger friend Madge form The Collyer-Watt Detective Agency. They soon find two mysteries ready and waiting for them to investigate. Firstly there is Mr Hoffman who has two young sons and acts very strangely when talking about his wife who he says died a year ago. Yet the smallest boy, who is only a toddler, remembers her which seems strange to Bertha and even more unusually Mr Hoffman won’t let anyone speak to his sons directly, using the fact that they speak only French to hide behind.
The next mystery comes in the form of Johan, a poor Swedish teenager, who is having to travel alone to join his Father in America. Johan seems to have found a treasure map but it’s in English and he needs help to translate. Bertha is keen to be involved in the hunt for treasure. For her this is a bit of fun but for Johan this could be everything. The big question is whether the mysteries will be solved in time.
You really get into the stories of these people and begin to like them. You can imagine how alone and scared Johan must feel- he is just a couple of years older than me and yet he is crossing the ocean all alone, sharing a cabin in the lower decks with people who resent him being so sick. You get a glimpse of what it was like day to day, the meals, playing games, reading and church services and begin to see what the journey would have been like.
Lindsay Littleson really makes you realise how differently people were treated in 3rd Class to 2nd Class. It’s so strange to think that people in 3rd class where made to line up and be inspected for lice and other illnesses and yet people in 2nd were allowed on even with awful illnesses like consumption.
When the ship hits the Iceberg, even though you know what is going to happen, Littleson really builds the sense of fear. You genuinely felt like you could be there, feeling the cold water seeping into your shoes and not tying your laces in order to get out quickly, trying to find a lifeboat and a way to escape. You want to shout at the 2nd class passengers who don’t realise the water is already pouring in on the lower decks.
Once again you see the awful differences between how the classes are treated. How can the ship have been allowed to travel without lifeboats for all the passengers? How could people be so uncaring that lifeboats were launched half empty?
The sinking of the unsinkable ship is awful, so vivid and well written and you can feel the shock when the women and children realise their husbands and sons are not going to survive.
This book could never have a ‘happy ending’ but Bertha does realise that strength and bravery comes in many forms and whilst her Mother may not be an aviator or an explorer, she is the one holding everything together when everyone else is falling apart. The reader is also reminded that treasure can come in many different forms too.
I really enjoyed this book and passed it to my Mum who liked it so much she read it all in one night. My little sister Lottie has now started to read it too. They have been learning about the Titanic last term at school and this is a great book for bringing it to life for her.
I think this book is ideal for confident readers age 7 plus and would be good to be read as a class book alongside the topic but is also great for anyone to read as it is well written and keeps your attention throughout.
Make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour to find out what other bloggers thought of The Titanic Detective Agency.
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Titanic Detective Agency to review but all thoughts are my own.