Clara is completely enchanted by master puppeteer Grisini and his marionettes. She is so charmed that she invites him and his two orphaned assistants, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, to be the entertainment at her birthday party. When Clara vanishes soon afterwards, everyone is suspicious of Grisini and his wards. But is something more sinister afoot than simply abduction?
This one was very twisty and turny and overall put together very well. I liked the juxtaposition of the different cultures, the art of the marionettes, the magical elements, and the poverty of 1860s London orphans. This one's being marketed as middle grade, but it's definitely for your upper elementar/junior high crowd, as some of the descriptions of magic are realistic and almost violent. My major complaint with this one is that it's quite long. It's a great story, but some children will lose interest long before the satisfying conflusion.