Author(s): Sharna Jackson
Cover illustrator: Wumzum
Publisher: Knights Of
Publication date: 4th April 2019
“If you think finding a body is a fun adventure, you’re 33% right.”
In the right place at the wrong time. There’s been a murder in The Tri, and super-sleuths Nik and Norva are the detective duo the Block needs to solve it.”Taken from High-Rise Mystery
For the last few months I’ve been quietly watching the progress of the independent publisher Knights Of, whose ethos is to be diverse and inclusive, from the way they run their business to the books they sell. High-Rise Mystery is an example of what they stand for – it is a detective mystery with two black (and female) protagonists living in a tower block in London.
The book starts off really strong with the focus being on the murder (or, at that point, assumed murder) and the methodical way in which Nik and Norva approach the crime (as well as most other aspects of their lives). They do not just fall into the situation because they are intelligent, shrewd, and have a drive to solve the mystery.
There are two aspects of this book that I loved. Firstly, the diversity of the characters, and with this the sense of community. There are people of different nationalities, ethnicity, and race. They all love their Block and work together to make it the best it can be.
Secondly, it challenges perspectives of people who live in these types of Blocks and are part of such communities as being ‘common’ or ‘unsophisticated’, stereotypes which are simply not true.
My only criticism of High-Rise Mystery is the length of the book. For a middle-grade read, 350 pages is pretty hefty, and I did feel that there were opportunities to make it shorter and speed the pace up slightly.
In all this is a fun, enjoyable, detective mystery. It accurately portrays crime investigation processes in the UK, as well as alluding to the strain the police force and other services are under.
This will definitely keep 8-14 year olds entertained over (the inevitably wet and dreary) Summer holidays.
Many thanks to Knights Of for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
You can support your local bookshop by buying High-Rise Mystery through them directly, or via Hive.
What do you think of High-Rise Mystery? Will you be reading it? Let me know in the comments below.