Ally Carter, Winterborne Home for Mayhem and Mystery (Winterborne Home #2), Hachette Australia, February 2021, 256 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780734419187
This is the second book about April and the other kids taken in by the Winterborne Foundation. It starts a month or two after the events of the first book. Ms. Nelson is still mad at Gabriel Winterbourne, and has disappeared. Smithers the butler has won a competition and is on a cruise around the world, leaving the kids alone with Gabriel. It’s not long until he disappears too, and they are forced to put themselves to the test – to find out what happened to Gabriel and save him if they can. Along the way a few more secrets are revealed, and other mysteries solved.
This book is unrelentingly fast paced – it careens from one action scene to the next, making it exciting but a bit exhausting. Any scenes where the characters can enjoy being safe and warm and fed, and have a chance to rest and recover, are sped through, or glossed over, denying the reader a chance to enjoy them as well. However, that is a minor complaint. Winterborne House is an atmospheric setting, the kids are resourceful and talented, and the mysteries are intriguing. Gabriel Winterborne seems to have a lot in common with Bruce Wayne, but the true Dark Knight is revealed in this volume, solving a mystery from the first book.
This book should be enjoyed by upper primary and lower secondary readers who enjoy derring-do, mysteries, and unsupervised kids. Who doesn’t! It should do well in public and school libraries.
Reviewed by Rebecca Kemble