This fab series of middle grade mysteries continues with the exciting fourth book, The Frost Castle Adventure!
Book: Clifftoppers: The Frost Castle Adventure by Fleur Hitchcock
Read before: No
Release date: 1st October 2020
Ownership: Review copy sent free of charge by Nosy Crow Books. All opinions my own.
Cousins Ava, Chloe, Aiden and Josh, and Bella the dog, are back for another holiday with their grandparents at Clifftoppers Farm – this time at New Year! They’re playing in the snow when they are almost hit by an out-of-control car… and it turns out to have a famous actress in it! The annual New Year’s play is star-studded this year, the cousins find out, but it may also be cursed – time for them to get investigating and try to work out who’s behind the series of “accidents” that keep happening to Martha and the disappearance of her precious necklace. As with previous books in the series (reviews of book one here and book two here!) this is a pitch-perfect children’s detective story with a great sense of adventure to it.
I thought the wintry setting of Frost Castle really made this book feel fresh – previous books have definitely given me that idyllic summer holiday feel, but the atmosphere here is gorgeously snowy and cold and evocative of the Christmas holidays. Add to that a castle full of secret passageways, a possible haunting, and a nasty blizzard keeping everyone cooped up, and it’s the perfect setting for a story of peril that will make you glad to be tucked up in your own house!
As with any episodic series like this, the characters stay fairly static between books, but I really like how Josh, the youngest, has gained confidence in his intuition. He had a tendency to let the others push him around to begin with, but he’s much more likely to stand up for himself now, and it rounds the main cast out really nicely. The actors and crew of the play are a great selection of eccentrics – it’s really entertaining to watch the cousins watch them, and there are plenty of clues and red herrings in their behaviour to enjoy spotting! Things unfold in a very satisfying way that will have you cheering for the goodies and hissing at the baddies – it’s just a lot of fun.
I continue to be very impressed by the way this series feels classic and modern at the same time – they’re well worth a read if you’re looking for something more up-to-date than the Famous Five. I look forward to the next mystery! Four out of five cats!