A sinister world of murder and theft, time travel and robots opens up in this taut and entertaining adventure involving amateur detective Jazmin and her secret-agent mum, Assia. From the opening pages, the reader is plunged straight into the action – a murder that takes place along the river Thames. The next scene is a flashback to Venice, where Jazmin and her mum are enjoying a short break. While there, Jazmin comes across a priest, who, to her surprise is also on the return flight to London – but no longer dressed as a priest. Jazmin has little time to think this through since, back at school, she’s asked to mentor twin newcomers whose behaviour is so distinctly strange that she’s sure there’s something amiss. Running parallel to her sleuthing is her mum’s investigation into theft from a Venetian church.
The action-packed adventure is skilfully plotted, weaving effortlessly between Jazmin and Assia’s investigations, which gradually converge into a single storyline. The writing is spiced with humour, the language slick and breezy. A minor quibble, though, is with the design. Change of direction or focus is marked not by chapters but by three lines of text set in bold and in capital letters – a feature that can be irritating and difficult to read.