Miss Penny Dreadful and the Malicious Maze
Bronte Rose Marando
Walker Books, 2023
144pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99
1872 and although Penny Pickering has often dreamed of being taken away from Miss Strickland’s School for Girls of an Enquiring Mind by her Aunt Harriet who writes very popular short stories known as “penny dreadfuls” (hence the nickname other girls in the school have given Penny), she is most surprised when it actually happens and she finds herself embroiled in curious mysteries which, with her enquiring mind guided by the echoes of Miss Strickland’s words, she is able to solve. Firstly it was some bewitched kittens who were apparently partying at midnight and this time it’s a maze that apparently swallows the servants!
But underpinning the immediate adventures is the mystery of what has happened to her scientist parents and why she has been taken from the school by her aunt. What is behind the cryptic messages on the picture postcards supposedly sent by them from Switzerland? And why would they up sticks and leave in such a hurry that there laboratory is left in a mess when they are so meticulous about its tidiness. What role does the secretive and sinister Mr Crowley play in all this, particularly when Penny catches him out in a lie by telling her a solicitor is on her parents’ case, but she discovers that solicitor doesn’t exist?
Perhaps the answer lies in the third and final in this series for young, independent readers who enjoy mysteries which is scheduled for release in November.