Rose Raventhorpe Investigates: Hounds And Hauntings by Janine Beacham

The Blurb On The Back:

The city of Yorke is in a state of panic.  There’s been a murder!  Rumours are circling that an ancient ghost-hound is the culprit.

Rose Raventhorpe, her friend Orpheus and they city’s secret society of butlers search for clues down dark, eerie skitterways, on the mist-covered moors and atop the ancient walls of the city.  Rose believes that the villain is human, and she’s determined to prove it.

There’s no sweeping this crime under the carpet …  

You can order ROSE RAVENTHORPE INVESTIGATES: HOUNDS AND HAUNTING by Janine Beacham from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

There’s something terribly wrong in the city of Yorke.  Rose Raventhorpe can feel it in the stones of the city’s walls and the streets are full of talk of a Barghest (a kind of demonic dog), which has been blamed for the death of a pickpocket in the Shudders.

As Guardians, she and her friend Orpheus Raven decide to investigate with the help of the Butlers (including the loyal Heddsworth) but as more attacks take place, the Wakemen are summoned on behalf of the Mayor.  Corrupt and brutal, the Wakemen feed the fear running through Yorke as people become convinced the Barghest is operating at the command of the reclusive gothic author, Miss Wildcliffe, who’s accused of being a witch.

Rose is convinced that there’s nothing supernatural about the crimes and that someone is masterminding them but with the Wakemen taking control of the city and keen to force the Butlers out, it won’t be easy to uncover the culprit …

The third in Janine Beacham’s ROSE RAVENTHORPE SERIES is a supernatural mystery novel for children aged 9+ set in an alternate 19th century York with a twisting plot filled with red herrings and action and although I felt that the cast of characters was perhaps too wide as I lost track of who was who, this is in part because I haven’t read the earlier books and there’s certainly enough here to make me want to rectify that.

Rose is an interesting main character and I liked her courage and her connection to Yorke but I did feel that I had missed a lot in terms of her backstory because I hadn’t read the first two books, which means I wasn’t sure of her history with Orpheus or Heddsworth and so found the lack of conflict between them a little bland.  I was also a little discombobulated by the alternative Yorke with geography similar to but different from the real city of York and the references to real 19th century historical books although I think Beacham does well at giving her world a personality.

I thought that the Wakemen were suitably grasping and malevolent and I enjoyed the way they quickly take advantage of what’s happening in the city to establish control.  Their antipathy to the Butlers and to the grumpy, suffer-no-fools Miss Wildcliffe is also well depicted (and I would like to see her again in future books).  I’m not sure how I feel about the Butlers and their dedication to service because I haven’t seen how it’s been developed, but I enjoyed the mystical sword for Guardians storyline (although I wish there’d been a little more made of the reason for the Wakemen’s interest in it) and there’s good diversity on show in terms of the make-up of the Butlers and how they accept people from different ethnicities, genders and classes.

My main criticism is that there are an awful lot of characters in the book, including characters who Rose and Orpheus have met in previous adventures and I found it difficult to tell who was who and what their history was with the main characters at times.  I also wondered whether all of those characters were actually needed as some, e.g. Emily and Harry Dodge who didn’t seem to have much of a purpose.

My criticism aside though, I thought this was an entertaining read with a lot to keep readers aged 9+ engaged and I would definitely go back and read the first two books in the series on the basis of this book.

ROSE RAVENTHORPE INVESTIGATES” HOUNDS AND HAUNTINGS was released in the United Kingdom on 11th January 2018.  Thanks to Walker Books for the review copy of this book.

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