• Paperback Snob

Libby and the Parisian Puzzle

By Jo Clarke, illustrated by Becka Moor, published by Firefly Press

Here’s a book with an absolutely irresistible premise – it’s set in a travelling boarding school that visits a different city in another part of the world every term. It’s such an intriguing and exciting plot set-up that provides so much scope for adventure and appealing settings. Then the mystery element makes the series even more entertaining and atmospheric. Libby and the Parisian Puzzle introduces Libby, her aunt Agatha (the school’s principal) and her best friend Connie. After arriving in the school’s temporary Paris home, all three find themselves entangled – and in Agatha’s case, implicated – in a jewel theft. Libby must find the true culprit in order to clear her aunt’s name and save the travelling school. The Paris setting, the compelling mystery and the wonderful characters make this a delightful read. Libby is a fantastic protagonist and I love her friend, and partner in crime-solving, Connie. Libby’s mother is not present for long in this book, but she also seems fascinating and I look forward to learning more about her. The story suggests an even bigger enigma surrounding her new job and departure for far-off places without Libby. I can’t wait to get to the bottom of this in subsequent books. I have to mention one scene in which Libby is stranded at a train station in a strange city with no one to collect her – this might seem minor but it’s one of the most distressing things that can happen to a child. We’ve all been there – an adult hasn’t turned up to collect us or is a little late – and it can be incredibly scary. I love how author Jo Clarke uses this to dramatic effect.

Mentions of macarons and pastries, as well as gorgeous illustrations by Becka Moore, make this book even more delicious. It's perfect for children who are just getting into books and ideal for helping persuade reluctant readers to pick up a novel too. It's really fast-paced and funny, as well as thrilling, so there's plenty to engage young readers. There is an extract from the next story at the end of this one which appears to be a scenic, snowy, Scottish and festive adventure. Libby and the Parisian Puzzle was published on 3rd March 2022 by Firefly Press - see this book on the publisher's website