Catherine Jinks, Theophilus Grey and the Traitor’s Mask, Allen & Unwin, April 2016, 320pp., $19.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781760113612
Second in a two part mystery series set in London of the mid 18th century, this is the story of twelve year old Theophilus (Philo) Grey, a linkboy who makes a living escorting people through the dark, and some times dangerous, streets and alley ways of the city. But this is not Philo and his gang of linkboys’ only job; they also collect and sell information. Mr Bishop has become one of his best customers, paying Philo to gather intelligence on the Jacobites who wish to overthrow King George. But is Mr Bishop really who he says he is? And then there’s Garnet Hooke, his old master who has a vendetta against him, not to mention a rival gang of linkboys. When Philo, who has always prided himself on his well groomed appearance and strong moral base, finds himself being drawn into questionable dealings he must reassess his loyalties. Luckily he has good friends like the surgeon Nathaniel Paxton and the actresses Caroline Cowley.
An author of many books for children, Caroline Jinks’ evocation of Georgian London is wonderful. Full of small detail, she paints a vivid picture, from the aristocracy in their silk ruffles and powdered wigs, to the street urchins, architecture and a sense of the political climate of the time.
This is a great read for kids 8+
Reviewed by Mem Capp