Review Blog

Apr 12 2010

Two Tigers on a String by Josh Lacey

cover image

Scholastic, 2009.
(Ages 8+) As a kid I was Enid Blyton's number one fan and when I read Two Tigers on a String I couldn't help drawing parallels with her. Perhaps Josh Lacy is out to create a Famous Five for the twenty first century. Certainly the Misfitz reflect the amorphous nature of many families, consisting as they do of Ben, his sister Harmony, his half sister Kit Kat and step brother Frank. Fortunately a helpful family tree is included, but readers may still need a degree in genealogy to follow it.
So, with characters that reflect modern society we are presented with an appealing mystery - Frank's mother disappears and then apparently sends her son a postcard from India. This is completely out of character and when the four Misfitz find Frank's mother's passport in the biscuit tin at home they know something is seriously wrong and fear that she has been kidnapped. With a bumbling police force reprising the role of Old Goon or Mr Plod, it's up to the children to uncover the truth.
With that title and front and back cover pictures of a tiger, I had high hopes of a satisfying and unusual mystery, but sadly the reality is more mundane; there are no wild animals in this story and the plot fizzles out in a disappointing denouement. On the bright side Lacey's characterisation is far more accomplished than anything Blyton ever managed. Unambitious younger readers will probably enjoy the romp, but I couldn't help comparing this unfavourably with The London Eye Mystery; now there was a disappearance that was worth solving.
Claire Larson

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