Review Blog

Oct 09 2014

Phyllis Wong and the return of the conjuror by Geoffrey McSkimming

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Phyllis Wong Mysteries. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743318379
(Age: 9+) Recommended as a fun fictional fantasy for young readers. Mystery. Adventure. Time Travel. Magic. Illusion. This is a magical gem! The central character Phyllis Wong is a well-practised conjuror/prestidigitator that, despite her youth, uses her fast-fingered skills with sleight of hand tricks to entertain. Her staged actions to overcome a class bully lead to school suspension and ultimately a strange meeting in time with her Great-grandfather who was himself a renowned performer of illusion tricks. Time travel follows and almost coincidentally she becomes involved in a major police investigation into a potential crime involving the first folios of Shakespeare's play. Her ability to travel back in time enables her to meet the Bard and prevent a major injustice.
One of the delights of this book is her connections to some quirky adults and an extremely eccentric school friend.
This book is a highly entertaining narrative, with mystery, adventure, time travel and Shakespearean history united with a highly competent and independent female lead character who displays amazing intellectual skills and organisation. Her friend, Clement, is the ultimate bizarre sidekick, who adds a considerable comic element to her adventures in time.
Carolyn Hull

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