A fun read with lots of over-the-top slapstick action, including an evil Brotherhood who are sacrificing rubber chickens. This is a must-read for fans of Gangster School.
Milly Dillane and Charlie Partridge have another mystery to solve at Blaggard’s School for Tomorrow’s Tyrants (aka Gangster School). The renowned diamond, known as ‘Sir Byron’s Brain’, has disappeared and an ancient curse will be triggered if it leaves the school grounds – Blaggard’s will immediately collapse in a heap and the Head Teacher will die a horrible death the very same day. With the help of Charlie’s dog, Gruffles, and the amazing and occasionally invisible electronic dog, Wolfie, our two friends are determined to find the diamond before it’s too late. Their investigation quickly leads them into the path of an evil secret society known as the Brotherhood of Brimstone. Unfortunately this also leads them into terrible dangers and both Gruffles and Wolfie are captured. Milly and Charlie are now racing against time to defeat the Brotherhood, find the diamond, and save their canine companions.
The second in the series, fans eager for book two won’t be disappointed by this sequel to the popular Gangster School. There are new lessons in tyranny for young readers to envy (notably Criminal Disguise and Deception) and a new adventure with our two main characters.
Fans of Gangster School will have already formed a bond with Milly and Charlie and will enjoy reading their next escapade together. I particularly liked the way they continue to develop as characters and how we are allowed an insight into the cracks in what will ultimately prove to be a solid friendship.
While the story officially revolves around Milly and Charlie, our canine characters have a much bigger role in this book and in many respects manage to steal the show. It’s impossible not to love Gruffles who is simply incapable of following instructions. Wolfie is also adorable for his steadfast loyalty and friendship and there are some truly nail-biting moments when he falls into the hands of the members of the Brotherhood of Brimstone.
Ultimately, however, the success of this series is down to the plots and the over-the-top, often slapstick, action. Fans of the book won’t be disappointed on this front. Not when the Brotherhood are sacrificing rubber chickens and using tomato ketchup to fake their blood! There’s also a good dose of toilet humour with the secret headquarters of the Brotherhood being located inside a sewage tank and the climax involving some very smelly sludge.
While the slapstick humour will undoubtedly appeal to the target audience, as an adult I actually preferred the sub-plot about the mysterious Dr X – Chief Inspector of Criminal Schools. As the story reached its climax, I was busy speculating on the potential identity of the mysterious inspector and couldn’t help wondering what he would be looking for when judging the quality of a criminal school.
If you enjoyed this, you’ve probably already read Gangster School by Kate Wiseman. If you’re looking for something equally silly and entertaining, why not try St Grizzle’s School for Girls, Goats and Random Boys by Karen McCombie.
Publication date: September 2018
Author’s website: Kate Wiseman