ABOUT THE BOOK
History, mystery, and science collide in a new series for middle-grade readers, perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society and Lemony Snicket!
Jordan Stratford imagines an alternate 1826, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency!
Lady Ada Byron, age eleven, is a genius. Isolated, awkward and a bit rude—but a genius. Mary Godwin, age fourteen, is a romantic. Adventurous, astute, and kind, Mary is to become Ada’s first true friend. And together, the girls conspire to form the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency—a secret constabulary for the apprehension of clever criminals. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects. But it’s no match for the deductive powers and bold hearts of Ada and Mary.
Mystery fans will love this tween girl riff on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. History buffs will be delighted to see all the real figures who play a role in this story and appreciate the extensive backmatter that helps separate truth from fiction. Parents and educators hoping to promote the STEM fields for girls will be thrilled to have a series where two girls use math, science, and creative analytical thinking to solve crimes. But most especially--emerging readers will love this series filled with humor, action, intrigue and wonderful artwork from Kelly Murphy.
Lady Ada Byronis a rather eccentric genius as the prodigious age of 11 doesn't really get along well with people. Things are especially awkward when a new tutor shows up along with Mary Godwin who is to be tutored with Ada. Ada doesn't want to be tutored and as a result does everything in her power to avoid and antagonize 'Peebs', the new tutor. Luckily, Mary is strong where Ada is weak, in people skills, and gives Ada a chance. Reluctantly, Ada allows Mary to become her friend and together they establish the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, named after Mary's deceased mother, a novelist. When Rebecca, a young lady comes to them on behalf of her maid, who confessed to stealing her valuable pendant. But Rebecca doesn't think her maid is guilty and hires Mary and Ada to discover the truth. With Ada's genius and Mary's people skills the two girls set off to find the necklace. A visit to Newgate prison as well as confrontations with suspects and a chase in Ada's balloon give the girls plenty of adventure.
One of the things I love about this new series is that it is based on two real people from the time period (Lady Ada Byron, considered to be the first computer programmer and Mary Godwin Shelley, the world's first science fiction writer). While the two girls were in actuality 18 years apart in age, the author has tweaked history a bit to bring these too fascinating people together. The story is entertaining and informative at the same time. The author does a great job of integrating Ada's math and science work with Mary's imaginative and adventurous personality, creating a delightful new series that stands out as a fun historical mystery.