Withering-By-Sea by Judith Rossell

Stella Montgomery lives at the Hotel Majestic, a beautiful, large, white building situated on top of the cliff overlooking the town of Withering-by-Sea. She lives with her three painful aunts, long-time residents of the Hotel Majestic, who moved there for the health benefits of the hotel’s water, which is said to limit the effects of ageing.

One day when Stella is reading her Atlas in the conservatory, she spies the new resident, Mr Filbert, suspiciously hiding a small package in an old urn. That evening, Stella sneaks out of her room to investigate. However, she is surprised by the appearance of thieves dragging Mr Filbert and demanding to know where the package is. As a struggle ensues, Mr Filbert spies Stella and gives her the task of protecting the package from the horrid Professor who is behind the robbery. This puts Stella’s life in danger and when the thieves kidnap her she must use her cunning brain to outwit the thieves and the Professor.

Withering-by-Sea is a fun mystery with interesting characters, thrilling chases and singing cats! Readers aged 9 and up who enjoy reading the Ruby Redfort series as well as the Mr and Mrs Bunny books by Polly Horvath will love the style of Withering-by-Sea.

Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.