Sunday 24 September 2023


by Alasdair Beckett-King;  


A small version of the cover. Montogomery Bonbon stands in front of the strippy Leerie Lighthouse, reaching out for paper clues. He/she is spotlighted in yellow against the rocks whilst orange and yellow waves of the background splash roundabout. The title is in white script set at an angle over the lighthouse and above Bonbon's head. The author's name is in yellow beneath, whilst the artist's name is in orange beneath that, both set against the purple used to put the lighthouse steps in shadow.


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

Hello, and welcome to my weekend Book Review featuring Adventures in Middle-Grade Fiction.
This week, we have a tremendous new murder mystery for you. It has nothing to do with the dodgy sponge recipes entered in the Upper Much-Mousing Autumn Show, though frankly, there should be some arrest for the scones that were later in an attempted smash-and-grab.

That said, Mrs H's Victoria Sponge scored a silver and a bottle of Rosehip Gin. She swapped that with Mrs Bradshaws' third-place non-alcoholic trifle prize of a bottle of 100% proof sherry. Me thinks I'll not get much sense out of Mrs H this evening!

So without much more ado, and certainly before Mrs H heads to do the washing up from Sunday lunch, and then falls into a mysterious slumber, here's the review!


A large version of the cover. Montogomery Bonbon stands in front of the strippy Leerie Lighthouse, reaching out for paper clues. He/she is spotlighted in yellow against the rocks whilst orange and yellow waves of the background splash roundabout. The title is in white script set at an angle over the lighthouse and above Bonbon's head. The author's name is in yellow beneath, whilst the artist's name is in orange beneath that, both set against the purple used to put the lighthouse steps in shadow.



Cover and interior art by: CLAIRE POWELL


Published by: WALKER BOOKS


Publication date for Paperback: 5 OCTOBER 23


Paperback ISBN:   9 781 5295 05 818


Cover price for Paperback: £7.99


Pages:  303


Age range: 9-12 (and adults too).

Any dogs or cats? Sadly, no. But plenty of onion-based sculduggery!




Some as to plot direction and characters.



Thank you to...

We are exceedingly grateful to WALKER Books Publishers and NetGalley for the privilege of getting to Read & Review this much-anticipated book before publication. 

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

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



A quick pre-amble....


This is the second adventure in the series. And whilst we have read the first, we still need to review it. Suffice it to say, both that and this float our boat humour-wise, and we can recommend both. Reading them out of sequence will not spoil the fun, either.


Our protagonist is a very capable 10-year-old, Bonnie Montgomery. Her alter ego is none other than Montgomery Bonbon, the famed French, moustached, beret and trenchcoat-wearing detective. He also speaks with a crazy mish-mash of French and German. 


No one has rumbled the disguise or the fact that both are the same height and build, much in keeping with the best superheroes. Bonbon has her own version of Captain Hastings in the form of her sharply dressed ex-icecream seller grandpa, Mr Banks. Forever photographing evidence and clues, he and his still-decked-out van serve the duo as transport for their cases.



The plot


Our story opens with Bonnie and Grampa Banks travelling from their hometown of Widdlington to Odde Island for a short half-term holiday and escape from detecting. Famed for its pageant (and banning of all things onion-based, including Cheese & Onion Crisps) and its windup lighthouse, it seems a perfect getaway. Nothing is likely to happen in the week they're away, right?


Oh, how wrong they were. Crossing the island's tidal causeway, they get stopped by the local exciseman and 'jobsworth', who insists they have to declare all things onion, by order of the Order of the Golden Fleece! Bonnie's cheese and onion puffs get flattened with a mallet, and Grandpa Banks is let off with a warning. It was, they thought, rather strange, but then this was Odde Island. They arrive at the famous Leerie Lighthouse only to find it closed after the keeper, Maude Cragge, was found dead, having been blown off the top of the lighthouse during the previous night's storm. Maude was also the 'Grand Maven' of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Not a lady that was liked by many, it seems. The 'Especial Constable' on the island thinks it was just a tragic accident, but something about the scene was amiss. But she couldn't put her finger on it.


Now, I don't know about you, but if there was a hint of something not quite right and I was a clued-up detective on holiday, I'd do precisely what Bonnie does and go about checking for clues to quell any suspicions. And then, all being fine, I'd go to the beach, build sandcastles, and eat tons of ice cream. 


It's time for Montgomery Bonbon to start investigating! Bonnie enters the lighthouse in disguise and finds a dry, 'golden fleece' jacket. Well, it's more a parker than a fleece. Within a pocket, she finds an IOU to Maude from someone with the initial 'W'. Where there is evidence, there is a crime, and as Bonbon would say, "The game is afoot, mein ami."


The investigation that follows introduces Bonnie and Banks to all manner of locals. There's the smarmy owner of the past-its-best guest house they are staying at, Tobias Waterman. Down on her luck and short of a Manor House, Lady Wallop seems more than suspicious, especially when she was out the night Maude came a cropper and seemingly had no alibi! Then there's second in command to Maude, Reuben Ribble, who seems far too grumpy and keen for nobody to dig into his affairs. 


And what about Maanvi Mallick, Odde Island's very own once-great reporter who's not below digging up the dirt and a bit extra for a good story and be noticed. As to Miss Bunch, she seems to have hidden something, or things, hiding in the school cellar. And then there is Dana Hornville, Bonnie's classmate, who just happens to have taken a cottage on the island with her mum. The thing is, Dana has discovered Bonnie's secret persona and might well spill the beans and ruin it all!


The following plot twist is when one of the prominent characters comes to a sudden demise, another tragic accident, that try as Bonbon might, he/she, cant make fit murder . . . . but those little grey cells, they are working. 

Which is where we shall leave this review. 

So, what did we think?


A superb and highly illustrated adventure that will capture the imagination. Fast-paced, there was never a dull page within the covers. The plot is a delight, simple but addictive.


Adults, who may 'accidentally' happen to pick this up thinking it's their latest John Le' Carrie or the Grisham they had wanted to read on the bus or train that morning, will be suitably amused. 


Written by a renowned award-winning stand-up comedian, the text has a definite adult cheeky twist. No rude double-entendre, just skilful appropriate lateral wordplay and humour. Bonnie's misunderstanding of more adult phrases actually brings a genuineness to her alter-ego's persona, much like Poirot's own, how you English say 'the grasp incomplete of the English, no?'. 


Of course, having Bonbon mix German and French phrases is a brilliant ploy and adds to his character. Christie never overplayed Poirot's quirks; thankfully, this does not happen here, either. Too much of that would be a turn-off, even for kids. 

The plot, whilst a typical murder mystery, is skillfully wrapped up with a great setting and a string of dubious and fun/quirky characters who all could have done it. Only by chance did we guess the villain; even then, we weren't 100% right. In my experience, we seldom get the motives why folks do things. That was the same here, though there were clues.  


So . . . . Crunch time. 


Enquiring, fun-loving kids will love this well-written, easy-going, fast-paced series. This style of humour does it for us every time. Anything that can amuse Mrs H and me for a week during the stressful clatter of refurbishment works and even raise a smile and a chortle from Mrs H, having seen the debris and dust she had to clear up, is a winner. As Mrs H always says: "Money spent on an entertaining book is money and time well spent." Fostering good cheer, an inquiring mind, and active reading for later life is always a winner. 


Want to buy a copy?

To get an onion-free copy, please head on down to your local independent bookshop. Plenty are out there; each is just waiting to serve up whatever kind of mystery, fun and adventure you desire.



Talking of winners, Lone Star Cats are the winner of our Thomas Taylor Eerie on Sea multi-book giveaway. CONGRATULATIONS! If you would like us to redraw the prize and pass it on to another commentor from that week, please do say. 


If you do wish the prize, please send us your postal address via a separate comment below. We won't publish the comment and will delete it after your prize is safely delivered. 



Alasdair Beckett-King's web page can be found HERE or type this:


WALKER Books' web page can be found HERE or type this:


Claire Powell's web page can be found HERE or type this:


After all that detecting, I shall leave you with an onion and crime free selfie of me.  πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

We are joining the Sunday Selfies, hosted by the wonderful Kittes Blue and their mum, Janet Blue in America.

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

This is me and my toes looking at you. Or, more precisely, at Mrs H, who had foolishly left the bed in search of a pen and returned to find no spare space.

Erin lies on a pink duvet cover. The camera shows her hind paws in foreground, slightly blurred, whilst in background and in sharper focus is Erin's face looking into the lens.

Till laters!




  1. Dear Erin, it was luck your mom left the room so you could get into a furrific pose fur us. She picks delightful books that even our hooman moms would have fun reading.

    1. She still managed to squeeze, at least for a bit till the kettle boiled. Lots of fun kids books for us all to enjoy!

  2. Bonnie sure is a real smart one and the book sounds quite good. Your selfie is so pretty sweet Princess!

    1. Thank you, Bonnie sure has a knack, but has back up too, which is kinda fun.

  3. Looks like a fun book. Good luck with Mrs. H. I love your selfie. I would kiss those toes. XO

    1. I'll make sure my toes are supper clean if you want to kiss them πŸ˜‰.

  4. This sounds really good, and we love that selfie! We also wanted to answer your question about Mudpie's food. She's still eating Purina One True Instinct Whitefish, but the past few months has gotten a little bored with it so half the time she also eats Fancy Feast dry food, the Savory Farm-Raised Chicken & Turkey flavor. The vet gave her a calorie plan this spring. We aren't being quite as strict as her plan, but have just been cutting back on portion sizes.

    1. Thanks for advising on Mudpies diet. I'll see if we can get some of that here.

  5. Erin, we love your toe-riffic selfie!

    That book sounds like something we would enjoy, and will be checking it out. Congratulations to Mrs. H on that silver. It does sound like she will be down for the count after swapping with Mrs. Bradshaw. We hope you get fed on time.


    1. It is rather toe filled, isn't itπŸ™‚. As to Mrs Bradshaw, I think she got the better deal. As to my meals, lets just say we had takeaway last night! Glad you liked the review. Most kids books are very rewarding, and it's kind of cool for adults to read them too. After all they are written by adults.

  6. That is a lovely selfie of you and your toes. Another great review. I think my mental age must be going backwards as I find the books you review much better (easier) reading than "adult books."

    1. Easier reading is actually not to be knocked y those that say kids books are for kids. They may well sometimes be shorter, but they use so much imagination to tease out the best from the page.

  7. We love those toesies, ERin.
    We have a question about those scones you mentioned. Were they so smashing someone tried to grab them, or were they so hard they were used to do the smashing (mol)?

  8. Are you sure there are no onion odors on those toesies, Erin?? MOL!
    Nice selfie, we have to say!! Looks like you were reaching for the camera shutter button...cause you were *ready* for a selfie!