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Julia Lee has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. She wrote her first book aged 5, mainly so that she could do all the illustrations with a brand-new 4-colour pen, and her mum stitched the pages together on her sewing machine. Julia grew up in London, but moved to the seaside to study English at university, and has stayed there ever since. Her career has been a series of accidents, discovering lots of jobs she didn’t want to do, because secretly she always wanted to be a writer. Julia is married, has two sons, and lives in Sussex.
She has written books for grown-ups under the name Julia Widdows.
In a nutshell: a diary of detection from our favourite 1920s housemaid | With the current craze for historical mysteries and clever girl detectives, readers will be delighted to make the acquaintance of Nancy Parker, bright young maid and experienced sleuth. In this adventure, she’s starting a new job as housekeeper for the somewhat eccentric Miss Dearing at creaky Oxcoombe Grange. A series of unexplained bumps in the night set Nancy’s detective instincts jangling, and with the help of her friend Ella, at school nearby, she determines to find out what’s going on. It’s told partly through Nancy’s diaries and partly through third person narrative, so readers are always at the very heart of the action. The mystery is thoroughly satisfying and this is just the kind of book to kindle a life-long appreciation of crime fiction. Definitely one to recommend to fans of Robin Stevens’s Murder Most Unladylike series, and readers will also enjoy Katherine Woodfine’s Sinclair’s Mysteries. ~ Andrea Reece
On this day 24th June 1920 I turned fourteen. I plan to have a very exciting future now that I have thrown off the SHACKLES of SCHOOL! A detective is what I would most like to be. I cannot think of any reason why I could not be one. Except perhaps I am too young. And I don't like blood. Nancy Parker has recently been engaged in her first position - as a housemaid for the very modern Mrs Bryce. It's not Nancy's dream job (she'd rather be investigating crimes like they do in her beloved six-penny thrillers) but as Mrs Bryce starts to entertain her new neighbours with lavish parties, it becomes clear that something strange and interesting might be afoot. Local burglaries, a cook with a deep, dark secret - and Mrs Bryce's own glamorous but murky past. Will Nancy solve the mysteries while still keeping on top of her chores?
August 2014 Book of the Month Rich in atmosphere and with a great cast of characters, this is an exciting Victorian adventure in which the unexpected can always happen! Gully Potchard is an ordinary kind of boy who tries his best to keep out of trouble and never intends to get caught up in other people’s affairs. But when he is spotted by a less than attractive old school friend he is propelled into a dodgy world in which the crooked thrive at the expense of the straight. Dogs are going missing – and cats too – and Gully has to protect himself or there is no doubt that he will take the blame. Julia Lee creates a vivid world and weaves a gripping story through it.
A rip roaring adventure for a delightfully spirited girl! Orphaned and penniless, Clemency Wrigglesworth sets off fromIndiaentirely on her own and with little idea of what she’ll find when she reachesEngland. On her journey she is looked after by the redoubtable Mrs Potchard and later by the Marvels, her unusual family inLondonwho take Clemency in while they try to find out about Miss Clawe, Clemency’s surviving relative. When the scary Miss Clawe snatches Clemency away the Marvels are hot on her tail as they are determined to make sure Clemency is safe. A Piece of Passion by Helen Bray Editorial Assistant Oxford University Press Children’s Books Clemency Wrigglesworth is a tremendous character: her good sense, courage, and honesty mean you’re rooting for her all the way, and her unintentionally-unconventional approach to the challenges life throws at her keeps you laughing for the duration! She’s supported by a fantastic cast of equally well-drawn characters, including the red-haired, long-limbed Gully Potchard and his spirited cousin Whitby, who follow Clemency across the country with a band of not-quite-genuine Red Indians, a stern school mistress with a weakness for sugar mice, and a scullery maid called Poll whose life is turned upside down when Clemency crashes into it! The story is so much fun to read, partly because the author, Julia Lee, puts the reader in the privileged position of being able to see that the characters are going to collide, whilst ensuring that the outcomes of the collisions are always surprising! I like to think of it as a ‘proper children’s book’—fun, exciting, and really rewarding. Not forgetting the skulduggery, magic, and derring-do that fill the pages! Fans of Lemony Snicket, Eva Ibbotson, and good, hearty stories will relish this rare gem. I hope you enjoy The Mysterious Misadventures as much as I did! Please let me know what you think via Twitter (@Hellzapop) or send your comments direct to our Children’s Books team (@oupchildrens). In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'It has many unexpected twists which is one of the many things I like about this story.' Scroll down to read more reviews...
Maidservants, Mystery, and Murder! Everyone's favourite housemaid-detective is back! Nancy has a new job as a ladies' maid, and is accompanying her new employer on a visit to the grand and mysterious Midwinter Manor. The house is full of guests, and with each one eccentric and intriguing in their own way, it's set to be an interesting few days. But things turn from interesting to downright deadly when Nancy discovers a dead body in the library. A funny and energetic middle-grade mystery, narrated part in the third person and part through Nancy's illustrated journal. Perfect for fans of Murder Most Unladylike and The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.
Maidservants, Mystery, and Murder! Everyone's favourite housemaid-detective is back! Now Nancy has a new job working at Oxcoombe Grange. It's great except for one thing - Nancy is convinced the house is haunted! Ella Otter, now a reluctant pupil at nearby Seabourne Grammar School for Girls, demands a scientific investigation. Together, Nancy and Ella set out to do some spooky snooping, and to uncover the mysteries of the Grange's cellars. But in doing so they make a few enemies, discover a few surprising secrets, and put themselves into a little more danger than they were bargaining for . . . A funny and energetic middle-grade mystery, narrated part in the third person and part through Nancy's illustrated journal. Perfect for fans of Murder Most Unladylike and The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.
On this day 24th June 1920 I turned fourteen. I plan to have a very exciting future now that I have thrown off the SHACKLES of SCHOOL! A detective is what I would most like to be. I cannot think of any reason why I could not be one. Except perhaps I am too young. And I don't like blood. Nancy Parker has recently been engaged in her first position - as a housemaid for the very modern Mrs Bryce. It's not Nancy's dream job (she'd rather be investigating crimes like they do in her beloved six-penny thrillers) but as Mrs Bryce starts to entertain her new neighbours with lavish parties, it becomes clear that something strange and interesting might be afoot. Local burglaries, a cook with a deep, dark secret - and Mrs Bryce's own glamorous but murky past. Will Nancy solve the mysteries while still keeping on top of her chores? A hilarious and energetic middle-grade mystery, narrated part in the third person and part through Nancy's journal.
An improbable hero, a spine-tingling adventure, and a surprising twist of fate . . . Gully Potchard never meant to cause any trouble. He's just an ordinary sort of boy . . . at least that what he thinks. But when an old acquaintance comes knocking, it isn't long before Gully is tangled up in a mess of mischief and skulduggery. Cats and dogs go astray, a child is kidnapped, and ransom notes are delivered to the wrong people! But as a storm rages and a fire blazes, Gully discovers that he has an extraordinary skill that might just make him an unlikely hero after all . . . Another unputdownable adventure from the author of The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth!
Clemency is utterly penniless and entirely alone, until she's taken in by the marvellous Marvels - a madcap family completely unlike her own. But it's a surprise to them all when she's mysteriously bundled from the house by the frightening Miss Clawe. Concerned about her fate, the Marvels set out to find her. Enlisting the help of some not-quite-genuine Red Indians, it's a calamitous race across the country. But Clemency's misadventures are more dire than her rescuers suspect . . . will they reach her in time? A thrilling adventure mystery with skulduggery, magic, and dark family secrets.