Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Swifts. A big thank you to Puffin Books and Kaleidoscopic Tours for involving me in this tour.
On the day they are born, each Swift is brought before the sacred Family Dictionary. They are given a name and a definition, and it is assumed they will grow up to match. Unfortunately, Shenanigan Swift has other ideas.
So what if her relatives all think she’s destined to turn out as a troublemaker, just because of her name? Shenanigan knows she can be whatever she wants – pirate, explorer or even detective.
Which is lucky, really, because when one of the Family tries to murder Arch-Aunt Schadenfreude, someone has to work out whodunit.
With the help of her sisters and cousin, Shenanigan grudgingly takes on the case, but more murders, a hidden treasure and an awful lot of suspects make thing seriously complicated.
Can Shenanigan catch the killer before the whole household is picked off? And in a Family where definitions are so important, can she learn to define herself?
This is, above all, a book dedicated to a love of words. The theme of centering around a dictionary is delightful to any book lover, and the way it encourages the reader to expand their knowledge while following the journey of the book, is a wonder.
Shenanigan Swift is the kind of character that will stick with you long after the book has closed. She wants to be more than her name, and is wondering endlessly how many of her shenanigans are down to her name, and how many are down to being… well, a perfectly normal child. And that is the charm of this book, for me: underneath the murder mystery, there is an extraordinary family, with a story focusing on dynamics between them, and the people underneath their names.
The cast of characters is engaging and you never quite know who you’re going to bump into around the next corner. When the real drama begins, on top of the already existing family drama, you’ll be second guessing everyone and everything, whatever your age. And when everything finally comes together… well. I had a lot of thoughts!
I also have to comment on the illustrations by Claire Powell, because they were utterly charming. They really helped bring the characters to life, and there was so much life to breathe into them. It was a joy to see some of the chaos on the page in such a wonderful way.
About the Author
Beth Lincoln was raised in a former Victorian railway station in the North of England. Her childhood fears included porcelain dolls, the Durham panther, and wardrobes that looked at her funny. She grew neither tall nor wise, and never learned to play an instrument – but she did write stories, a bad habit that has persisted to this day.
When she isn’t writing, Beth is woodcarving, or making a mess of her flat, or talking the nearest ear off about unexplained occurrences. Her favourite things include ghosts, crisps, and weird old words like bumbershoot and zounderkite. The Swifts is Beth’s debut novel. It grew out of her love of words, the gleeful gothic, and classic murder mysteries. She lives in Newcastle upon Tyne with her partner and hopefully, by the time you are reading this, a dog.
Thanks again to Kaleidoscopic Tours and Puffin Books, and a big congratulations to Beth Lincoln for the publication of this fun mystery read for middle grade, and adults too. I’ve talked before about why I love to read middle grade and this is a strong reminder of why!