ROB KEELEY

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A school trip to historic Deanchester becomes more exciting when Jess and her friends discover the city hides a secret treasure. Local historian Dr Joseph Pyrite left a series of clues scattered around Deanchester's landmarks, which Jess, Mason and Kessie are determined to solve. But they only have three days. And they have competition. A series of increasingly cunning tricks awaits Jess and her party as they try to beat Perdita and Thomas to the treasure.

 

Illustrated by Simon Goodway.

 

Published 28 January 2021 - but copies will be available online in time for Christmas 2020!

 

 

'Rob Keeley is back! Hooray! We here at Bookbag Towers are always happy to read a new adventure from Rob - his stories combine fast pace and lots of action, an easy to read style, an unerring eye for children's friendships and rivalries, and always a good dollop of naughty humour. They're all present here, in The Treasure in the Tower. The chance purchase of a book during a school trip sparks the whole adventure. Who can follow the clues best and find the treasure? Jess, her brother Mason and their friend Kessie through sheer persistence? Or spoiled brat Perdita with her money and tech gadgets and willingness to cheat? We know which team we're rooting for, of course!

 

You'll like Jess, who has a strong sense of fair play and lots of energy, and her relationship with her irrepressible, prank-loving brother Mason is a joy to read. And Kessie, who gets bullied by Perdita over her dyslexia, but who has a strong sense of right and wrong and a good brain to back up her morals. The three use every tool at their disposal to solve Dr Pyrite's clues, only to be foiled at almost every turn by Perdita's less-than-sporting attitude to competition. Keeley captures school pecking orders brilliantly and you can see all sorts of thoughtful subtleties that really make the relationships in this story three-dimensional - for example, Perdita may be domineering and controlling of her hanger-on, shy Thomas, but she also protects him. She's not a cookie cutter villain.

 

The clues all follow an aspect of history - women learning to drive and volunteering with the ambulance service during World War One, capital punishment in medieval times, for example - and readers will take in quite a bit of information, inspiring them to find out more.  And there are some fabulous slapstick moments which drop the essential element of humour into the mix. I won't give them all away, but my favourites involved jam sandwiches and fake blood in the form of tomato soup!

 

A rollicking good adventure, a morality tale, and an advocate for the study of history. What more could you want from a middle grade story?

 

Recommended.'

- Jill Murphy, The Bookbag.

The Treasure in the Tower

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