Childrens - Shastrix Books


Recently reviewed

The Mystery of Monster Mountain

The Mystery of Monster Mountain

M. V. Carey

12th November 2023

The 3 Investigators, now in the middle of their series of adventures, head away from their usual haunts on a camping trip, and to visit a cousin of their friends/employees.

It’s a classic mystery story where there’s a lot going on and a lot to investigate, with homemade technology, shifty characters all over the place, and an element of the supernatural to freak things up a bit.

I felt that some of the elements were maybe a tad too obvious, but then I have to remember the target audience haven’t been reading mysteries for anything like as long as me, and these are serving to introduce them to the genre.

A good contribution to the series.

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The Jennings Report

The Jennings Report

Anthony Buckeridge

12th November 2023

Book 19 of the Jennings series once again sees a varied set of events which tie together into mishap and misunderstanding. Not however one that I have any memory of from when I would have last read it as a child.

Possibly more holistic than some of the other novels, this one is structured around the rescue of a hibernating hedgehog, who plays a role throughout.

The story comes together well, although some aspects of the middle seem to lack payoff, and I’m not sure that they add enough comedy value without that.

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Puzzle for the Secret Seven

Puzzle for the Secret Seven

Enid Blyton

4th November 2023

Book ten sees the Secret Seven confronted with a brief mystery at the end of what almost feels like some sort of social commentary without a moral at the end. I remembered barely anything of it from reading it as a child.

It’s a weird entry in the series because the mystery is almost the third plot, after the social one and the continued bickering with the group’s nemesis, Susie.

I felt slightly uncomfortable reading it, because there’s a very clear class divide, and although it’s not treated in a negative way it does feel like there could be a tad more sensitivity in presentation, and indeed more support provided by the state rather than relying on kindly middle class farming families.

Additionally my copy has clearly been altered from the original - it’s from the 1990s and has decimal currency throughout - so I can’t help thinking that the narrative might have originally been different, and again might be different now.

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The Secret of Phantom Lake

The Secret of Phantom Lake

William Arden

3rd September 2023

Things get creepy and dangerous again for the Three Investigators as they hunt for actual pirate treasure.

It’s a fairly run of the mill T3I novel, with a mystery happening upon them, and lots of going places to hunt clues. There’s perhaps a bit more structure set up than sometimes, which makes it feel a little formulaic.

Not bad, but not their best outing either.

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Trust Jennings

Trust Jennings

Anthony Buckeridge

27th August 2023

Jennings and his friends return for another set of chaotic adventures caused by misunderstanding and/or wilful misinterpretation of rules and instructions.

This feels like a perfectly workable entry to the series. The plot comes together nicely into the usual three-act structure, with excellent foreshadowing and callbacks.

But it just doesn’t quite have the energy and hilarity that I found in the previous story - Jennings in Particular - which felt one of the best.

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Secret Seven Mystery

Secret Seven Mystery

Enid Blyton

27th August 2023

The Seven have a mystery to solve when a girl is reported missing from her boarding school and rumoured to be hiding in their local area.

As a mystery, it’s a good one - with plenty of investigating to do. The old dichotomy of sexism toward the main female characters, while presenting independent guest female characters with proper agency, continues.

I think this one struggles a bit against the modern reader though. The central plot point feels very scary in the modern world and I think perhaps the books ends up over glamourising running away from home, and so I suspect some parents might not be as comfortable reading this as parents would have been when it was written.

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The Mystery of the Shrinking House

The Mystery of the Shrinking House

William Arden

29th July 2023

This classic 3 Investigators mystery sees the friends clearing out the possessions of a deceased artist, then hired to track them back down.

It’s incredibly readable for a kids book from the early 1970s, and the mystery really holds up. It certainly feels like a lot more effort went into crafting this series than into Hardy Boys adventures.

It’s full of the quirky elements that make this series fun, a bunch of the series regular elements, and some proper puzzles which you can try to solve along with the team.

A solid entry and one that really represents the series well.

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Other reviewed books

Jennings in Particular
Three Cheers, Secret Seven
The Sky Blue Frame
Programme for Destruction
The Mystery of the Silver Star
The Blackwing Puzzle
Sky Sabotage
Secret Seven Win Through
The Mystery of the Singing Serpent
The Mystery of the Nervous Lion
The Mystery of the Flaming Footprints
The Outlaw's Silver
The Vanishing Thieves
The Stone Idol
The Mystery of Smugglers Cove
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The Mummy Case
Good Work, Secret Seven
The Apeman's Secret
Go Ahead, Secret Seven
The Pentagon Spy
The Mystery of the Samurai Sword
Night of the Werewolf
The Firebird Rocket
The Jungle Pyramid
The Masked Monkey
The Secret Agent on Flight 101
The Viking Symbol Mystery
The Mystery of the Desert Giant
The Mystery of the Coughing Dragon
Jennings Unlimited
The Mystery of the Chinese Junk
Secret Seven on the Trail
The Mystery at Devil's Paw
Well Done, Secret Seven
The Ghost at Skeleton Rock
Secret Seven Adventure
The Clue in the Embers
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Secret Seven
The Hooded Hawk Mystery
The Yellow Feather Mystery
The Mystery of Banshee Towers
The Secret of Wildcat Swamp
The Wailing Siren Mystery
The Mystery of Holly Lane
The Mystery of the Strange Messages
The Short-Wave Mystery
The Mystery of the Missing Man
The Secret of the Crooked Cat
The Clue of the Broken Blade
Five Children and It
Especially Jennings
Brigands M.C.
The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow
The Disappearing Floor
The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage
Jennings of Course
The Twisted Claw
The Falls
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Mystery of the Talking Skull
The General
The Mystery of the Moaning Cave
The Mystery of the Strange Bundle
The Sleepwalker
The Mystery of the Screaming Clock
The Mystery of the Vanished Prince
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Mad Dogs
The Tower Treasure
The Mystery of the Silver Spider
The Mystery of the Invisible Thief
The Fall
Don't Touch Anything
The Mystery of the Fiery Eye
Crocodile Tears
Man vs Beast
The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat
The Secret of Skeleton Island
The Wide Window
Divine Madness
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Mystery of the Hidden House
The Accused
The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure
The Reptile Room
Ark Angel
The Rithmatist
The Mystery of the Missing Necklace
The Field Guide
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
The Mystery of the Green Ghost
Coots in the North and other stories
The Killing
The Abduction
The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters
The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy
Eagle Strike
The Mystery of the Secret Room
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Maximum Security
Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia
Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones
Great Northern?
The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot
Skeleton Key
The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat
Class A
The Secret of Terror Castle
The Picts and the Martyrs
The Assassination Game
Point Blanc
The Recruit
The World of Poo
The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage
Missee Lee
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Just Like Jennings
Catching Fire
The Big Six
The Trouble with Jennings
The Hunger Games
Secret Water
The Bad Beginning
We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea
Pigeon Post
The Song of the Quarkbeast
Coot Club
Winter Holiday
Jennings as Usual
Peter Duck
Take Jennings for Instance
Thanks to Jennings
Swallows and Amazons
Our Friend Jennings
The Last Dragonslayer
According to Jennings
Jennings' Diary
Jennings and Darbishire
Jennings' Little Hut
Jennings Follows a Clue
Jennings Goes to School
Artemis Fowl

Unreviewed books

A Killing in the Market
Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens
An Ear for Danger
Beyond the Law
Biggles - Flying Detective
Biggles and the Black Peril
Biggles and the Secret Mission
Biggles Defends the Desert
Biggles Defies the Swastika
Biggles Delivers the Goods
Biggles Fails to Return
Biggles Flies East
Biggles Flies West
Biggles Goes to War
Biggles in France
Biggles in the Orient
Biggles Learns to Fly
Blood Fever
Blood Relations
Brother Against Brother
By Royal Command
Castle Fear
Choke Hold
Cold Sweat
Countdown to Terror
Crime in the Kennel
Crusade of the Flaming Sword
Cult of Crime
Dangerous Games
Dead on Target
Deep Trouble
Diplomatic Deceit
Dirty Deeds
Disaster for Hire
Double or Die
Edge of Destruction
Endangered Species
Evil Incorporated
Fatal Error
Final Cut
Final Gambit
Flesh and Blood
Flight into Danger
Foul Play
Foul Play
Fright Wave
Fun for the Secret Seven
Funny Business
Good Old Secret Seven
Grave Danger
High-Speed Showdown
Hollywood Horror
Hostages of Hate
Hot Wheels
Hurricane Gold
James and the Giant Peach
Jennings Again
Jennings at Large
Lethal Cargo
Long Shot
Look Out Secret Seven
Mariel of Redwall
Martial Law
Martin the Warrior
Maximum Challenge
Murder at the Mall
Murder to Go
No Mercy
Open Season
Outcast of Redwall
Pearls of Lutra
Perfect Getaway
Power Play
Reel Trouble
Rigged for Revenge
Rock 'n' Revenge
Rough Stuff
Scene of the Crime
Secret Seven Fireworks
See No Evil
Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales
Shock for the Secret Seven
Sidetracked to Danger
Slam Dunk Sabotage
Speaking of Jennings
Still William
Swallows and Amazons for Ever!
Terror on Track
The Alaskan Adventure
The Bellmaker
The Borgia Dagger
The Camels are Coming
The Cold Cash Caper
The Crowning Terror
The Crystal Prison
The Dead Season
The Final Reckoning
The Genius Thieves
The Hypersonic Secret
The Last Laugh
The Last Leap
The Lazarus Plot
The Long Patrol
The Midnight Folk
The Mystery of Death Trap Mine
The Mystery of the Cranky Collector
The Mystery of the Dead Man's Riddle
The Mystery of the Headless Horse
The Mystery of the Invisible Dog
The Mystery of the Kidnapped Whale
The Mystery of the Magic Circle
The Mystery of the Missing Mermaid
The Mystery of the Purple Pirate
The Mystery of the Rogues' Reunion
The Mystery of the Scar-Faced Beggar
The Mystery of the Sinister Scarecrow
The Mystery of the Smashing Glass
The Mystery of the Trail of Terror
The Mystery of the Two-Toed Pigeon
The Mystery of the Wandering Cave Man
The Number File
The Oaken Throne
The Phoenix Equation
The Search for the Snow Leopard
The Secret of the Haunted Mirror
The Seven and the Lion Hunt
The Seven and the Magician
The Seven and the UFOs
The Seven Strike Gold
The Seven to the Rescue
Thick as Thieves
Typically Jennings
Uncivil War
Web of Horror
Without a Trace
Witness to Murder

Top books

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  2. The Mystery of the Shrinking House
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  4. The Rithmatist
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  6. Jennings Unlimited
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  8. Pigeon Post
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  10. Class A
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  12. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
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  14. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone