Wednesday 15 May 2019

The Case of the Vanishing Granny Book Review

I always get excited when I get a book through the post from Barrington Stoke (as do my children) and I'm not going to lie, I'm just as eager to read the younger children's books as I am about the young adult ones.

My latest review is for Alexander McCall Smith's latest book, The Case of the Vanishing Granny. A book that is going to become part of the Big-Top Mysteries.


Roll up! Roll up! For a dazzling new adventure series from multi-award-winning author Alexander McCall Smith and star illustrator Sam Usher.

You cannot fail to be drawn in by the fantastically bright front cover. Bright yellow shades; rainbow coloured stars and characters that you long to see at the circus all combine to make a real treat for the eyes.

Billy, Fern and Joe Shortbread are the stars of their family circus, but they also have another talent . . . for solving mysteries. So when a sad-looking boy from the audience reveals that his granny has disappeared, the siblings are determined to help. But this case won't be easy to crack - it's as if Tom's granny has vanished into thin air!

The story begins with chapter one introducing us to the infamous Shortbread children, who we see learning about the circus and just what they need to do to become entertainers. Billy, the oldest, is a trapeze artist, Fern is an acrobat and Joe, the youngest, trains his ten dogs to dance.

From the start I'll admit that my favourite character wasn't any of the children, instead I gained a soft spot for their cat - Leo (you'll have to read the story to understand why.)

We get a real glimpse into circus life. The effort it takes to not only perform each and every day when working but also the hard-work that goes into putting up the circus ten (big top) and all of the large apparatus.

One day when in the midst of a performance, Billy, Fern and Joe happen to spot a child in the crowd looking rather sad, worried even and so begins the vanishing granny mystery. Time to put their clever heads on and start looking for any clues.

Join the Shortbread family and their spectacular circus as they travel the country performing gravity-defying tricks and solving incredible mysteries. Can Billy, Fern and Joe put their skills to the test and solve the clues in time?

As the tale progresses we get to read all about their adventure, which includes daring, brave break-ins, chocolate and not forgetting the cake. There is even a bonus mouth-wateringly, delicious chocolate truffle recipe at the back of the book!

This story is humorous, heart-warming and filled with messages of kindness, team work and following those all important dreams. The mix of written words in the dyslexia friendly font and layout combined with the fun, memorable illustrations make for a highly engaging book.

The Case of the Vanishing Granny is the perfect chapter book for children aged between six and ten (but anyone can read them) and I for one cannot wait for book two to arrive in October of this year.


  1. Alexander McCall Smith is a fantastic author! I had no idea he wrote children's books too. This sounds very entertaining and just the sort of thing that my niece would enjoy.

  2. Think both my boys would enjoy this. Sounds a fun read

  3. Great author and sounds fun especially with strong messages in it #ReadWithMe

  4. Alexander McCall Smith is a fab author - and this sounds like a fun read! #readwithme

  5. We get lots of AMS books in the charity shop. I had no idea he writes children's books as well. I think Ella might enjoy this one.


I love hearing from my readers so please feel free to leave comment.