What an absolutely brilliant book! It's a real old fashioned mystery story, with only very mild peril and loads of really loveable characters. I loved the nurturing but slightly old-fashioned nature of Stuart's family set-up. The plot is intricate, but carefully structured so that it is easy to make sense of. There are interesting clues, which build up throughout, and lots of funny moments. I felt most put out that I had to go to work today, and could not just get this all read in one sitting.
The story is about a boy named Stuart, who moves town with his mum and dad, and starts to unravel a family mystery which has lain dormant for decades.
I have now read two of the novels shortlisted for the Carnegie prize this year, and they have both been spectacular (this, and A Monster Calls) and they have both been absolutely brilliant. I really don't envy the judges having to choose this year.
A relatively straightforward read (although the Dad character writes cryptic crosswords, so there's quite a lot of complex vocab there), suitable, I would say for children of 9+, younger for reading aloud by a parent. It's a proper children's book - not aimed at girls or boys in particular. It reminded me a little of the brilliant The Queen's Nose.