on 11 March 2010
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell form an amazing author-illustrator team, and every book they produce is a joy to read. This is the fourth Barnaby Grimes novel, telling yet another adventure of the intrepid tick-tock lad in a looks-like-London during the might-be-20s.
Like the previous Barnaby Grimes mysteries, this one is set up very simple; you know almost right from the beginning who did it, only not exactly how and why. It is, after all, a children's book. But the clever cruelty of the situation, the detailed drawings and the vividness of both the characters and the city, which is almost a character in its own, keep the reader absorbed till the very end.
Like any Roald Dahl book, the horrific situation described in Phantom of Blood Alley will appeal to every child who has so far only read books that shelter the fragile child's mind--after all, children aren't all that fragile, and they do enjoy a bit of horror from time to time.
I can heartily recommend this book, and all of the Barnaby Grimes series.