Rita Wong and the Jade Mask by Mark Jones

Illustrated by Seamus Jennings.

Published by Everything with Words, 2021.

Are you ready to hone your detective skills? Rita Wong and the Jade Mask is a sophisticated crime thriller and there’s a case for you to crack. Almost-14-year-old Rita Wong leads an ordinary existence sipping hot chocolate in Morecambe until one winter morning a dragon called Lester Thyme crosses her path. He takes her to Neon City where the streets are dark with magic, crime, trolls and goblins. Look out for unicorn poo too! In this murky world Lester and Rita become detectives for hire. Their first case involves two vampires, a stolen jade mask and a baron mysteriously drowned in vat of lemonade.

I was swept along with the fabulous world building and had a really clear picture in my mind’s eye of what Neon City looked like. The wonderfully detailed map at the start of the book brought the locations to life too.

I enjoyed the book’s dry humour and the sharp dialogue, particularly Lester’s witty comebacks. There’s a brilliant cast of fantastical characters – from werewolves with hangups about hair loss to an ostentatious ghost, and the ruthless undead.

Wannabe sleuths will certainly enjoy trying to piece together all the clues and work out whodunnit.

Rating: 💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 8+

Thank you to Everything with Words for sending me this book to review.

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