Looking For Emily
Having just moved with her Mum, twelve year old Lily’s first impressions of her new seaside hometown, Edge, are not favourable; she misses the bustle of her old city life; moreover her teacher challenges her with weekend homework – she must say hello to someone new.
Walking home along a street she’s not previously explored, feeling disorientated and completely without friends, she chances upon an old museum with the unlikely name The Museum of Emily. Inside she finds carefully displayed such things as recipes for apple pie, books, buttons and pencils. How bizarre. Lily thinks there might be a story here but being new isn’t easy, so who can help her?
Then on Monday morning she is approached by another girl who introduces herself as Sam, thus saving Lily the need to worry about that homework challenge, and they begin to form a friendship. Sam later introduces Lily to Jay and she confides in them about finding the strange museum. They decide to find out more about Emily and so begins an exciting adventure that really draws readers in.
In true detective style the three spend many hours in the library searching through documents looking for leads about who the mysterious Emily was, discovering that she disappeared some twenty years back. Over the weeks they begin to piece together the puzzle, following several leads, the main one being Lily’s encounters with a sinister man who is lurking around the town. The town of Edge has a shadowy history with caves, pirates, a lighthouse and tales of enormous diamonds, so the story moves backwards and forwards in time and is also told from two alternating viewpoints, Lily’s and Emily’s.
There are unnerving events – the room in which they’re doing their investigation is trashed, life-threatening situations, the strong ties of friendship between Lily, Sam and Jay are tested to their limits but amazingly they hold together, thanks in no small part to their determination, trust, courage and bravery.
In her superb debut novel Fiona Longmuir includes pretty much everything a reader could want: a gripping mystery, superb characterisation including “exactly the right curious, incorrigible little girl”, a well paced storyline with some surprising twists and revelations, as well as a lingering aroma of salty chips.