Rebecca's Reviews > Two Crafty Criminals!: and how they were Captured by the Daring Detectives of the New Cut Gang

Two Crafty Criminals! by Philip Pullman
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's review
Mar 14, 12

bookshelves: adventure, children, historical, humor, mystery
Read in March, 2012

In 1895, the New Cut Gang in London consists of their (often too) inventive leader Benny, clumsy Thunderbolt, Irish Bridie and her little brother Sharky who will eat literally anything, and the two Perletti sisters Angela and Zerlina who look like angels, but as Benny says, are too dangerous not to have in the gang. In this book they solve two mysteries and capture two nefarious criminals, because really, the police are just not smart enough to do it on their own.

This book is mostly pure romp--ridiculous mysteries with outrageous plots to solve them (that sometimes work and sometimes don't) and they would make great movies because they're all action and laughs. I enjoyed them even when the mysteries weren't too hard to solve or the author deliberately gave them away early, and I did like that he gave Thunderbolt some depth of character. I did think that the author diluted his focus too much--I went in thinking that Thunderbolt was the main character, but then Pullman pulls back and follows the other characters as well, and that made it feel a little off. Overall, though I like over-the-top stories, this didn't capture me as much as Philip Reeve's Larklight series did, or Klise's Regarding The... series. I think the lack of focus is one problem, and maybe he didn't quite get the balance between silly and serious right (so tricky). But I think kids will love this!
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