Sunday 7 July 2024

Alice Éclair Spy Extraordinaire. A Dash of Daring.

Written by Sarah Todd-Taylor.  


Small book cover image. With the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop, Alice, in her trademark baker's outfit and cycling helmet, dashes through the Paris streets on a bicycle. Casper is dashing by her side. Alongside is a red, open-top sports car, and pieces of paper, documents maybe, fly through the air around them.

An Adventure Book Review by Erin the Literary Cat©, International Book Reviewer.

Hello, and welcome to my weekend Book Review featuring this week an Adventure in Middle Grade Fiction.

This is the finale of a wonderful series. So, without adding or taking away from this delicious book, let’s jump from the comparative calm of Alice’s kitchen into the frying pan that is the world of secret agents….. 

Large book cover image. With the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop, Alice, in her trademark baker's outfit and cycling helmet, dashes through the Paris streets on a bicycle. Casper is dashing by her side. Alongside is a red, open-top sports car, and pieces of paper, documents maybe, fly through the air around them.


AUTHOR:  Sarah Todd-Taylor


Artwork by:  Beatriz Castro


Published by:  Nosy Crow


Publication date Paperback:  


Paperback ISBN:  978 - 1 -781 839 - 887 - 9

UK Cover price for Paperback:  £7.99


Pages: 235


Age range:  8+

Any dogs or cats? Casper the cat takes to the skies, much like a rather talented pigeon.




Some as to plot direction and characters.



Thank you to... 

Mrs H is to thank for buying this grand finale of an adventure. We loved the others from the first page, and this was a must-read for us both.

As ever, our views are our own, and we only share reviews of books we have bought, received as gifts, or received in exchange for an impartial review.

First and foremost, the books we review are only those we select to read, like, and feel our global readers deserve to know about and that we hope they, their family, friends and students will enjoy.


The plot

Alice Éclair and her mother are found in the opening scene suspended in a cable car over the mountains—breathtaking scenery and a deadly plunge beneath. Thankfully, the villain isn't about to cut the wire! The mother-and-daughter chefs from Vive Comme L'Éclair have been invited to teach the finer points of their now-famous pastry creations to the chefs at the mountain-top Hotel Anise—a pleasant enough break from recent stresses in Paris.

It is a hotel with many strange guests. Alice soon learns from her senior agent, who arrives after sending a coded message, that it isn't a hotel at all. The eclectic collection of people are secret agents who need to be 'kept on ice' away from others until the information they possess becomes out-of-date and worthless. And whilst Madam E'Clair tuts at the chefs using margarine in their pastries, Alice has, unknown to her, been given the task of observing the guests to see if anyone is acting strangely. 

Claude advises Alice that a one-of-a-kind code-making machine, along with its creator and French agent, Jan Rejewski, has gone missing! All could be lost if France goes to war and the enemy has the machine. 

Where Alice fits in is that Jan's daughter, Adele, is a highly talented cyclist who aims to compete for her country in the upcoming Olympics. When Adele started receiving threatening letters using the hotel's notepaper, it seemed there was a link to a double agent somewhere in the hotel.

Very soon after, Alice discovers her treacherous father and former French agent in the same hotel, clearly receiving information from a source. Alice gives chase, but in a breathtaking scene, he escapes capture by the skin of his teeth.

With a connection made between Adele, Jan, the missing cypher machine and Alice's uncle Robert, Alice is now assigned undercover to bake at the training ground of the hopeful French athletes. She can watch over Adele and her highly talented and wheelchair-bound brother, Hugo. All the time, she observes and looks for evidence. 

With the scene now set in Paris but not confined to it, things really take off. More threatening notes arrive demanding Adele retire from training OR ELSE.

Here, Alice discovers many new possible enemy agents amongst the cycling team and trainers and puts Hugo in the frame as a spy. With competition for the limited number of places in the Olympic team running high, there is more at stake than the missing machine. How far would a fellow competitor cyclist go to remove a threat?

Why is Hugo so keen to train his pigeon, Columba, to fly with messages? And why are some competitors and staff seen in the same shop as Uncle Robert?

You will discover everything, the good and the bad, before the end of this adventure, which is why I can't tell you any more. Suffice it to say it is a high-speed, downhill dash to the finishing line worthy of a Transporter movie or The Great Escape, with a delightfully unexpected 'come full-circle' twist. 

So, what did we think?

Straight away I have to say Beatriz Castro has created another lovely cover. Full of life and fun.

Saying goodbye to such a fantastic series is so very difficult. However, Sarah has other recipes for adventure to work on and ideas like freshly kneaded dough gently rising to one side, which we know will be equally as tasty. 

This adventure had so very much to live up to. Would the soufflé rise to the challenge or be a flop? Of course, with all the right ingredients, lavished with care and adventure, the essence of France and historical facts, this would always have to be the chef's most excellent work. 

Which it is. A mouth watering layer cake of adventure with a Mission Impossible, Transporter, and Bond adventure all rolled into one filling. 

Laced with delightful and mouth-watering animated creations that would challenge a 5-star Michelin chef and heaps of aeronautical antics and high-speed escapades, this felt like a Mission Impossible, Transporter, and Bond adventure all rolled into one. Nouvelle cuisine, eat your heart out! This is a full-blown banquet with a take-home bag full of exciting memories.

As to Casper the cat, well, nah, I'll let you discover for yourselves what he gets up to in his own inimitable feline way.

So . . . .

Crunch time. 

This is one to buy for lovers of the series or just lovers of full-flavour kid's action and adventure featuring a strong lead and diverse characters.  

Want to buy a copy?

To get a copy, avoiding mountainsides, perilous ski lifts, spies and high-speed chases, just head down to your local bookshop. Or, order on line. There are plenty out there (book shops, that is, and hopefully NOT spies), and each shop is just waiting to serve up whatever kind of mystery, fun and adventure you desire.

To see our review of book 1, click this LINK.  

To see our review of book 2, click this LINK.  

To see our review of book 3, click this LINK. 

Sarah Todd Taylor's WEB page can be found HERE or type this: 

Nosy Crow's web page can be found HERE. or type this:

Beatriz Castro's web page can be found HERE. or type this: 

That's it for now, I hope you enjoyed the review. I'm off to check out the cakes in our pantry, and to see if Mrs H can get Alice's phone number to order some supplies.....🙂 🙂

We are joining the Sunday Selfies, hosted by the wonderful Kitties Blue and their mum, Janet Blue, from the Cat on My Head blog in America. Click this link to see Janet Blue's selfie page.

Small image. The Cat on My Head Sunday Selfies Blog Hop badge. Features a yellow-haired lady with a tuxedo cat on her head.


I shall leave you with an early July Selfie. More rain and wind around these parts, with no sign of summer anywhere . . . Ho hum, roll on Christmas!


Till laters!