A Girl Called Justice: The Smugglers’ Secret is an absolutely delightful return to Highbury House Boarding School with the eternally curious Justice Jones as she hunts down another mystery to solve, and finds herself caught in a web of intrigue that kept me utterly engrossed from start to finish.
Justice Jones has returned to Highbury House after the Christmas break where she finds the new matron, Miss Robinson, sneaking around the School at night. Her friend, the maid Dorothy, thinks there may be a mystery surrounding the matron, and Justice is in agreement. What can she possibly be up to, sneaking into the basement which is out-of-bounds for the students? Justice is determined to find out, even if this means breaking a few rules.
Meanwhile, the second-year students are expected to take part in the School’s Good Citizenship Programme which matches them with a villager who they can help. Justice is assigned to visit Mr Arthur of Smugglers’ Lodge who wants her to read the newspapers as he is blind as a result of a war injury. They develop a warm relationship with Mr Arthur revealing that he has returned to Smugglers’ Lodge as he seeks to be reunited with a relative, a relative Justice may be able to help him locate. But when a terrible crime is committed, Justice finds herself caught up in a dangerous mystery to identify the culprit, and reveal the identity of Mr Arthur’s relative.
This is a truly engrossing mystery, filled with tension and excitement, which reveals tantalising clues, fascinating secrets and unexpected twists … a classic whodunnit which kept me on tenterhooks as I worked to unravel the clues.
Highbury House Boarding School is richly depicted with a real Gothic feel: an isolated, marshland setting, cold rooms and horrible food, yet there is also a warmth and cosiness as the girls’ form friendship bonds and enjoy midnight feasts in their dorms.
The atmosphere is brilliantly evoked throughout as the tension builds, fog rolls in and a storm brews … as the hidden history which connects the School and the Lodge is revealed, justice and answers are sought …
I wasn’t snooping, I was sleuthing …
Justice Jones is a brilliant and incredibly likeable young sleuth. She is courageous, determined and curious and, with trusty journal in hand, once again turns her hand to solving a terrible crime. She doesn’t care about the social conventions of 1930s Society, and fitting in with the popular girls. She surrounds herself with some wonderful friends who support her in her sleuthing, and help her feel a part of Highbury House.
This is an incredibly enjoyable mystery which utterly gripped me. I really hope that Justice will have more adventures at Highbury House as I’d love to go sleuthing with her again.