A spooky detective story set in the tunnels beneath 19th century Edinburgh, this book had us enchanted from the blurb – and it didn’t disappoint.
Zinnie is a street child with a quick wit and even quicker feet, who is devoted to her ‘sisters’ Sadie and Nell. She earns money to feed them by helping medical student Arthur Conan Doyle – but their home, a damp patch of underground space in the infamous Mary King’s Close, is unhealthy, dangerous and, it seems, haunted.
Sceptical about the supernatural, Zinnie sets out to investigate, but her enquiries bring her into the path of the villainous Phineas MacDuff and his House of Wonders, a Barnum-style collection of oddities that is more sinister than wonderful, and harbours a secret that will change all of their lives.
In The House of Hidden Wonders Sharon Gosling shines a torch into the murky, but fascinating underworld of historic Edinburgh, and introduces a cast of feisty female role-models, from real-life doctor Sophia Jex Blake and the flamboyant Lady Sarah, to Zinnie herself, and each of her uniquely talented sisters.
There are spooky and gory elements to this story, but they are deliciously spine-tingling rather than truly terrifying, and delivered with such a light touch that the readers feels (partially, though not completely) ‘in the know’ as Zinnie races to solve this dramatic mystery.
We loved getting to know Zinnie and the colourful world she inhabits, and hope that she will be back for more adventures soon.
The House of Hidden Wonders, by Sharon Gosling (Little Tiger)