The Black Crow Conspiracy

Written by Christopher Edge
Review by Arleigh Johnson

An action-packed and engaging read from start to finish, this is the third of an early Edwardian era trilogy featuring a young girl who happens to be a celebrated author of horror for the magazine Penny Dreadful. Fifteen-year-old Penelope Tredwell, however, hides behind the pen name of Montgomery Flinch and masquerades as his niece, employing a clever actor to play the part in public.

In this latest adventure, Penelope has been suffering from writer’s block for many months and comes up with the idea of a contest in which her readers send in their own story plots. Among the many entries, she discovers one intriguing tale that is signed only with the drawing of a black crow. Once her version of The Thief That Wasn’t There is printed, she finds herself and her friends in trouble with a detective from New Scotland Yard for a crime that had been committed exactly as described by the illustrious Montgomery Flinch—the theft of the crown jewels just weeks before the new king’s coronation.

With a scientific twist and a plot involving the royal family, the story may seem a bit far-fetched, but moves along quickly with humor and wit. The characters each have distinct personalities that complement the early 20th-century London setting. An immensely satisfying ending sadly concludes this charming series of escapades, but leaves an opening for perhaps a different spin on the lovable characters.