Montgomery Bonbon: Murder at the Museum
Alasdair Beckett-King, illustrated by Claire Powell
With a moustache and beret at the ready, there’s a new sleuth on the block; it’s ten-year-old Bonnie Montgomery aka Montgomery Bonbon, Widdlington’s best detective. He is always at the crime scene on the look out for likely suspects and searching for clues, usually accompanied by erstwhile ice-cream seller, Grampa Banks whose van comes in very useful for stake outs. Clever, easily ignored by adults and with excellent powers of observation, this unlikely crime-fighting duo are the stars of this first in a mystery series.
As the story starts, Bonnie and Grampa Banks are visiting the Hornville Museum – Widdlington’s oldest building. Suddenly there’s a frightful scream and they are plunged into darkness. A security guard has been murdered and a carved stone eagle has been stolen. On goes her disguise and transformation! There is Montgomery Bonbon, on the case in an instant. Quickly on the scene too is Inspector Sands; she is definitely not a fan of Montgomery Bobbon and in return Bonnie has a very low opinion of the detective.
A few clues are soon found and Bonbon is immediately on the trail of suspects, the thief and the appropriately named Blowpipe Killer. Could any of the museum staff have played any part in the murder or theft? I love the clever way illustrator Claire Powell provides readers with a look at Bonbon’s case notes throughout and her depictions of the characters are superb.
With some tricky red herrings, an interfering scarlet macaw, seagulls, crisps and scones along the way, can our determined young detective maintain her cover and solve the case before disaster strikes again?
Beckett-King has created some superb characters in his gently humorous, thought-provoking debut novel, not only team Bonnie and Grampa whose fondness for one another and their age difference are a big asset, but several others too including Bonnie’s new friend Dana Hornville. Youngsters will love meeting them and like this reviewer, eagerly anticipate more of Bonnie. Has she been perhaps taking lessons from a certain Belgian detective whose voice (or rather David Suchet’s) I caught echoes of as I read.