Carlie Allred's Reviews > The Detective's Assistant

The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan
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it was amazing

Synopsis: In 1859, eleven-year-old Nell goes to live with her aunt after her parents and brothers pass away. Nell soon becomes wrapped up in the adventures of her aunt, the first female detective, and her agency’s cases at the start of the Civil War.

My Thoughts: This is a delightful book. Honestly, I felt the beginning was a little slow, and Nell’s circumstances of losing her family and being sent to live with an unsympathetic, distant aunt seemed way too sad. But over the course of the story, we see the intelligent and determined Nell mature in education and self-control, and her relationship with her prickly aunt grows stronger and deeper, leading to an ending that is emotionally satisfying and engaging.

And the mysteries! There are book-long, overarching mysteries relating to Nell’s father and her friend Jemma, but there were also the cases that Aunty Kitty and the detectives solved in which Nell ended up playing a part.

I sure appreciated the Author’s Note at the end of the book explaining that some of the people and events in the story were true. Fascinating, and it made me want to learn more about Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency.

Initially, I was so put off by how cruel Aunt Kitty was to her orphaned niece, but then I realized that perhaps what the author was trying to do was show the traditional crochety, cranky uncle character as an aunt instead, and that explanation carried me through until the end of the book, when another character commented on their relationship, and secrets were revealed.

I think middle-grade-readers of all ages will enjoy this book.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January, 2018 – Finished Reading
January 24, 2018 – Shelved

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