Cover Image: Libby and the Parisian Puzzle

Libby and the Parisian Puzzle

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Member Reviews

As a booklover (especially crime and adventure), a lover of French food and culture, and a teacher, this couldn't be a more perfect match as a story for me: it's written by a librarian, set in Paris, and follows an incredible pupil at an amazing travelling school solving a jewellery heist! 

5 stars guaranteed! It's a fun, fast, frolic in France, with clues to crack and mysteries to mull over - can you tell that I liked the alliterative title??

The book would be a perfect read for fans of MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman's 'Adventures On Trains' series, and those who enjoyed Robin Steven's 'Murder Most Unladylike' mysteries - this being the first in a series (book 2 out 2023) that they can engage with and follow as it grows. It also echoes the fast paced, action packed drama of both series, and features its own bright and brave lead character in Libby.

I loved the atmosphere of the city that Jo Clarke's wonderful descriptions evoked - I guarantee, without stereotyping, that you'll be wanting coffee and croissants after reading this - and I can't wait to follow the adventures as they move around with the 'travelling school' - what a great idea - where can I apply! I am sure readers will also love this idea - the experience and discovery of new places and the adventures alongside them that the series is bound to provide if this first outing is an indication!
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Adventure-loving Libby has travelled all over the world with her photographer mother so she is bitterly disappointed when her mum’s latest trip to Ecuador is a no-go for her. Instead, Libby is sent to her Aunt Agatha’s travelling boarding school that arrives in a new location for the start of each term, this time it is in Paris.

Despite some initial doubts, Libby is soon embracing all the school has to offer and is is gorging her way through fabulous French treats. But trouble is lurking and when Aunt Agatha is accused of a crime, mystery-loving Libby searches for the truth to clear her aunt’s name…

Jo Clarke is a superstar in the world of children’s book blogging so it was awesome to see her write her own story and to be on the receiving end of some much deserved praise. Her debut, Libby and the Parisian Puzzle, is a Parisian delight…a cracking adventure, a fun-filled mystery, the wonderful city of Paris and plenty of delicious macrons and pastries. What’s not to love?

There is something very exciting about a school that pops up in an entirely new place for the start of each term and Libby gets plenty more than just a cultural experience in the French capital. An avid reader of mystery stories, she finds herself at the heart of a puzzling series of events that sees her aunt accused of a crime that surely she wouldn’t have committed.

Along with new friend Connie, who has secret of her own, the two find themselves racing around the streets of Paris trying to piece the puzzle parts together. They are a fab duo, enthusiastic and chatty Libby with her inquisitive nature, keen eye for detail and sometimes impulsive actions; Connie, a tad quieter and taking her time to think things through. Like all good mysteries, there are plenty of shady characters lurking too, a man in the shadows, the lady in the peacock hat and a teacher acting suspiciously.

One of my favourite cities in the world serves as the perfect backdrop for this fast-paced mystery-solving adventure and the sights and landmarks are brought to life through exciting action that will have readers racing through the pages eager for the next clue. Cruising down the river Seine one moment, visiting the Louvre the next, and there’s always time to stop at a café for a patisserie and hot chocolate (my mouth is watering at the thought).

An intriguing mystery, a sprinkling of peril, a smattering of red herrings and a delightful boarding school experience makes for a brilliant detective story for amateur sleuths who will thoroughly enjoy trying to unravel the puzzle alongside Libby. Perfectly pitched for children who love a good mystery story but are not ready for the scarier and higher stake reads such as High Rise Mystery and Murder Most Unladylike, Clarke’s new series is ideal for fans of Agent Zaiba and Max and Lori.

With the promise of further adventures in different cities, I cannot wait to see where Jo, Libby and the travelling school take us to next.

Recommended for 8+.
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I love a good middle-grade, illustrated mystery and if there’s a dose of travel in there too, it’s even better. So, naturally I flew through this quirky, intriguing tale and am looking forward to future Libby adventures (fingers crossed!)

Libby is confused as to why she can’t join her mother on her latest trip because she is usually by her side through all her adventures. However, Libby is being sent to her Aunt Agatha’s travelling school for its upcoming stop in Paris and she can’t wait. There she meets Connie, who seems to have a few secrets but Libby’s aunt is soon accused of stealing jewels. Libby knows her aunt is innocent and some of the other adults are acting very suspiciously. Can Libby and Connie solve the mystery and save Agatha?

Becka Moor’s illustrations are adorable and I wish I’d seen more of them in my advanced copy. However, I have no doubt that the finished copy will have more artwork that is sure to delight readers young and old. The story is very fast-paced and the illustrations provide some lovely visuals to accompany the intrigue.

Mousedale’s Travelling School sounds like an amazing concept and I really wish I’d had the chance to attend a school like it. Imagine being taught about the world by actually experiencing it properly! The potential for Mousedale’s is enormous and I could easily see this series being many books long, if Clarke is happy to write them.

Libby reminds me of a young Sherlock or Enola Holmes. She is very observant, which makes her a brilliant detective and I was often in awe of her deductions. In fact, she kept me on my toes as I was trying to find the details and clues that she clocked before me!

The mystery itself is full of suspects and at some point, I thought that Libby’s friend Connie might have something to do with the theft. We find out what Connie is hiding eventually and I didn’t see that twist coming at all. That doesn’t often happen in middle-grade books, so I really appreciated the little surprises that the story sprang on me.

Libby and the Parisian Puzzle has introduced me to a world that I really hope is expanded upon because there are so many possibilities. There are some aspects of the plot left open and I definitely need answers to some questions. The characters are very easy to love and I was thoroughly swept up in the mystery. A very fun, thought-provoking read that you will devour!
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Libby loves a good mystery story, but she never expected she’d become part of one.  Her mother’s work has taken her abroad, so Libby is being sent to live with her Aunt Agatha who is the headmistress of an extraordinary travelling school that moves from country to country.  The next destination is Paris and she is delighted to be there, quickly picking up a new best friend in roommate Connie, when her Aunt is arrested for a daring jewel robbery!  With all her knowledge of mysteries to help her, can Libby find the real thief and save her aunt from prison?

What a fantastic mystery story!  Pacey and filled with fabulous clues to pick up, I found myself trying to be a detective solving the mystery alongside Libby.  Jo has filled this book with charm and brilliant descriptions that put the reader right into Paris, especially the food descriptions where I found myself desperate for a macaron!  The writing style is so easy to read and I know that Libby and the Parisian Puzzle will be enjoyed by younger readers in my classroom as they try their hand at some detective work.

I love main character Libby with her determined and curious nature.  She is fierce and believes in her aunt’s innocence throughout, never hesitating for a moment.  Libby will be idolised by young readers for sure.  Connie too is an interesting character – more shy than Libby, but with plenty of secrets that unravel as the mystery unfolds.  I hope that next time we see more of the staff of the travelling school and get to find out more about how that works.

An outstanding debut mystery which will leave readers wanting more!  5 out of 5 stars.
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Another of my much-anticipated reads of 2022 was Libby and the Parisian Puzzle written by Book Lover Jo. Set in a travelling school-yes, a travelling school!-this is a classic mystery story with an around-the-world twist.

When Libby joins her aunt's travelling school in Paris, she feels both excited and nervous. But, just as she is settling in, her aunt is arrested on suspicion of stealing jewels! Desperate to clear her aunt's name, Libby and her new friend Connie set out to find the real culprit...

This is a cleverly plotted mystery that's pitched perfectly towards younger middle grade detectives. Sitting alongside other young detective novels such as Anisha: Accidental Detective and Agent Zaiba Investigates, each are brilliant but feel different in their own right.  Jo Clarke's concept of a travelling school instantly appeals and there is a lovely flavour of Paris running through the novel: famous sights, delicious French patisserie and some simple French language. What's even more exciting is that subsequent novels in the series will immediately take on the vibe of future settings. 

Libby is a great main character. Her love of photography alongside her inquisitive nature makes her a natural detective and I love how she brings the more dubious Connie on board as her sidekick. Connie's role also develops brilliantly throughout the novel and she is definitely a dark-horse character I want to see more of. I also really like the presence of Libby's aunt and how the core of the story centres around the school. This means that while the travelling element reminds me very much of the older Adventures on Trains series, it maintains a cosy, familiar feel that provides that warm reassurance for 7-9s. 

With fantastic illustrations from Becka Moor, this novel twists and turns through the streets of Paris and keeps readers guessing until the final minute. Yet, there are enough seeded clues to begin piecing the puzzle together. It's a great start to what promises to be a fabulous series.
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I loved this fun mystery! 

When Libby's mum heads abroad for work, Libby is sent to her aunt Agatha's school in Paris. But Aunt Agatha's school is anything but ordinary - it travels from country to country each term, giving its pupils a chance to see global wonders and learn in a variety of exciting settings. When her aunt is arrested for a jewellery theft, it's up to budding detective Libby to the save the day. 

I really wish this traveling school existed! It sounds SO great and is a fantastic premise for a book series. Paris made for a really exciting first setting, with plenty of sightseeing and delicious food. I'm excited to see where future stories take Libby, Connie and Aunt Agatha, but I also, I have SO many questions - where is Libby's mum and what is she up to? I hope we find out more in book two!

This middle grade mystery novel has high personal stakes, but not so much danger that younger mystery fans would find this scary. There's lots of clues, red herrings and twists to keep you turning the page (I read this in one sitting!) It has everything you could want from a mystery novel. 

The NetGalley edition doesn't have the illustrations in it, so I'm looking forward to buying a finished copy to read with my eldest daughter, who I think is going to love this (and wish she could attend Libby's school!)
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Libby and the Parisian Puzzle is an utterly charming, joyous mystery that kept me entranced and intrigued as I joined some daring young sleuths on their first Travelling School Mystery.  

Libby is used to travelling with her photographer Mum but, when her Mum goes to Ecuador, Libby is sent to stay with her Aunt Agatha who runs a rather unconventional boarding school.  Libby is both excited and nervous to travel to Paris as it is her first time away from her Mum, and she has never attended school before.

When she arrives in Paris, she is upset to find that her Aunt is not there to meet her but, after speaking to her on the phone, she takes a taxi there with a new member of staff who has travelled in the same train carriage. 
Libby soon meets the other students, including her roommate Connie, and begins her education - in a class room?  Mais non!   The students who are enrolled in Mousedale’s Travelling School learn about the culture and history of the places they visit by exploring their sights, sounds and tastes, so Libby finds herself on a boat trip on the Seine, visiting the Louvre and Montmartre not to mention enjoying the taste of freshly baked bread, pastries and macarons.  I can’t deny that this made me crave another visit to Paris!  

Libby is enjoying getting to know Paris and her new school mates but disaster strikes when her aunt is accused of a jewellery theft and arrested.   As Libby and her friend Connie search for clues, solve puzzles and uncover secrets, will they be able to unravel the mystery and prove Aunt Agatha’s innocence? 

This is such an exciting, fast-paced and cleverly woven mystery that kept me turning pages as I was as desperate as Libby to find the culprit.  I can just imagine young readers finding and following the clues with Libby; wondering if they have discovered the identity of the thief.  I’d love to keep a sleuthing journal on a re-reading of this mystery!

I absolutely adored Libby who is such a likeable young girl.  She loves reading mysteries, is outgoing, determined and naturally curious.  She makes a wonderful friendship with the more reserved Connie who has her own secrets, and together they form a perfect partnership!  

I absolutely love the idea of a Travelling School which is such a clever concept and offers so much opportunity for the naturally inquisitive, gregarious Libby to visit and learn about new places, to make new friends and to solve other mysteries … and I have no doubt that she will have lots of young (and older!) readers eager to follow her adventures.

There are a few illustrations sprinkled in my proof copy which are just gorgeous and so expressive.  I have pre-ordered a finished copy, and am really looking forward to enjoying all the illustrations.

This is a sparkling jewel of a mystery:  action-packed, exciting and intriguing, and I absolutely cannot wait to join Libby on her next sleuthing adventure in The Travelling School Mysteries.
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I love the concept of this book - set in a boarding school that moves each term to a different country. What an adventure! Libby is such a likeable character - she loves reading detective stories, and has picked up several tricks of the trade as she has read. As this story unfolds she uses her knowledge and natural detective skills to solve a mystery and prevent a miscarriage of justice. If you want to read an adventure, learn about the beauty and magic of Paris, and enjoy some crime solving, this is a great choice of book. Great for readers age 8+
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I’ve followed Jo’s writing journey since her first draft of this story and what a delight the finished book is.

Set in Paris, Libby has joined her aunt’s travelling school while her mum is away for work purposes. Each term the school is set up in a different country. How delightful would it be to go to a school like this? 

Libby loves a good mystery, she is always reading about them and knows a mystery when she see one. So when a brooch and her aunt is accused, Libby and her friend, Connie, are determined to discover the real thief.

I adored this book and read it in two days. The descriptions of Paris  brought the book to life. I was dreaming about macaroons! 

The story is well plotted with twists at every turn and I was sorry to reach the end. I honestly can’t wait for the next instalment. 

Becka Moor’s illustrations are stunning and  really bring the characters to life.

Fans of Robin Stevens and Katherine Woodfine will delight in this contemporary series.

Well done Jo, on a cracking debut. May it be a
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This is the first in an exciting new series - The Travelling School Mysteries. With a new location every term, this is no ordinary school. Libby has great timing & is joining the school (run by her Aunt Agatha) when it's in Paris. Though she'll miss her mum, who is away for work, Libby's excited about museums, photography opportunities & delicious patisserie, of course! 

Connie, Libby's new (& first ever) roommate at school is an instant best friend & will be right there in the middle of any mystery, adventure or activity. 

A chance meeting on the train journey to France has Libby's curiosity stirring right from the start. 

Life is always strange in a new place but Paris is fascinating to Libby & she's very adaptable. 

There's a lot to think about in this story with layers of action & clues to keep you curious. Day trips play a big part in the school timetable & whilst this is excellent for Libby, there's always a chance of distraction!

With plenty of tasty hot chocolate in local cafés & delicious macarons, the students are loving Paris & their unusual school format. 

Libby's eye for detail is going to be tested when there's a shocking jewel robbery. 

How can she find a way to solve a mystery without getting too tangled up in the details?

 Sometimes just a fleeting glimpse of a thing or colour is enough to spark an idea in your mind - especially if you're as keen as Libby! 

This would be a great introduction to mystery stories for any youngsters new to the genre. The chapters are short & keep readers wondering what's coming up!

 How many clues can you find as you read through the story? Will Libby put the pieces of the puzzle together in time to help Aunt Agatha?

There's a mix-up with suitcases - or IS there? Libby has to keep some discoveries to herself for a while & her mind works overtime.

Some strange items are found in the loft & just add to the confusion.

New teachers, along with classmates, provide very interesting characters for Libby to meet & they sprinkle extra fun & intrigue throughout this creative, original story. 

There's even a mystery bow-tie man. How does he fit in the big picture?

Will Libby's own interest in photography help any of her hunches or will other things get in the way?

Miss Browne seems kind & even has hot chocolate & treats for the children some evenings. 

Connie's secret marshmallow stash is a great bonus & Libby's enthusiasm for everything in Paris draws in the reader very quickly.

With such an eye-catching cover & interior illustrations by Becka Moor, there's a lot to love here, besides Paris itself.

Get your croissants ready & dive into this fabulous adventure!
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The first book in Clarke's new series is a delight in all senses of the word. Carefully plotted with clever plot hints and twists throughout, Clarke evokes a true sense of the backstreets and boulangeries of Paris while also developing her main characters and driving her mystery to a satisfying end for all concerned.
Libby, slightly disgruntled and upset at not being allowed to accompany her mum on her travels as usual, starts her adventure by travelling to her aunt's school in Paris. Unlike traditional schools, this particular school travels around, allowing the pupils to experience the different cultures of locations all over the world.
We find ourselves travelling with Libby as she travels under the Channel Tunnel and arrives in Paris. She soon settles into her new school and meets another new pupil, Connie, who also has a few secrets of her own.
The duo quickly become aware that something is not quite right with the new teacher at the school and there are various other goings on that lead them to suspect that a mystery is happening right under their noses! By joining together, they decide to find out what is happening.
Clarke's book is a wonderful mix of clever plotting and subtle characterisation that left me wanting more. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series!
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This was a sweet, simple mystery story. It had an odd time setting. The characters were using mobile phones and euros, but the dialogue was very old-fashioned ("I do believe..." "Do come...!") and there was a slightly outdated boy/girl divide where the girls complained about mothers telling them to be 'ladylike'. But nonetheless it was cute.
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A cute middle-grade mystery set in Paris. I love the idea of a travelling school. That's such an original premise! And I really enjoyed reading about Libby's adventures in Paris. Great voice. Great characters. However, I couldn't figure out when the action takes place. Is it a modern middle-grade mystery or not? On the one hand, Libby uses camera and computers, so it sounds modern. On the other hand, the idea of a travelling boarding school doesn't sound like something that could happen nowadays. Plus, I couldn't figure out how many children attend this school. The author mentions only four children... Moreover, the plot is very straightforward. I expected something similar to the "Murder Most Unladylike" series by Robin Stevens, but here it was rather obvious who the villain is.
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Libby is excited when she is sent to Aunt Agatha's travelling school, currently residing in Paris, but nervous about being away from her mother. However, Libby and her new friend, Connie, soon find themselves wrapped up in a mystery that's perfect for detective-minded Libby. When her aunt is arrested, the girls have to work hard to find out the truth. 

This is a fun, easy-to-read middle grade. It features a suitably clever plot for the target audience, giving many hints along the way so, as an adult reader, it is clear who the villain of the story is but not the how or why. The extravagance of this travelling school does help with suspending disbelief as to some of the finer plot points, like the amount these children are left to wander around Paris, but this is also a consideration that comes from being an adult reading middle grade literature. 

It does deliver a rather clichéd depiction of Paris and French culture (like people carrying baguettes), which is fine but predictable. As such, I would note that this book does rely on some knowledge of simple French terms and/or good inference from context skills, such as for '<i>frites</i>' and '<i>gendarme</i>', in order to aid comprehension. 

Libby gets one good Sherlock-detection style moment as she deducts details about Connie but that's all. This element seemed like it would be more prevalent, especially after how much this is described at the start. Instead, it felt that Connie was far more proactive in her thinking than Libby, so the plot progressed but Libby wasn't always adding to it. 

This was a perfectly nice read and one that I'd happily share with young readers, especially if there are further books to turn this into a series.
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I really enjoyed Libby's sleuthing and the story as it unfolded. A sweet story about friendship, family, and solving mysteries.

Libby is sent to her Aunt's travelling school, currently in Paris, where she meets her new best friend Connie. On her travels she notices lots of strange things happening around her, when her aunt is accused of theft! What would Isobel her favourite fictional detective do?
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Libby and the Parisian Puzzle is a delicious gateau of a book. Libby is spending a term in Paris with her aunt's school, which travels to a different city each term. It's a wonderful idea that is instantly appealing and sets up the series for exciting travels all over the world and after reading the first instalment I can't wait too see where the school's adventures go next.. Jo Clarke gets straight into the action, with Libby picking up the hints of a mystery almost as soon as she steps off the train in Paris, and the book moves at a cracking pace as Libby, sharp and witty and with a kind heart, sniffs out the trail of a dastardly villain. Soon her aunt is implicated in a terrible crime and the stakes are raised as Libby has to clear her name. Every Sherlock needs a Watson of course, and with the creation of Connie, a fellow student at the school who is hiding a secret or two of her own, Jo Clarke establishes a detective duo whose  friendship is utterly believable and brings a lot of fun to the adventure. The book makes the most of the setting and the descriptions of Paris (and its food) bring the city to life. I can't wait to see a full copy of the book with Becka Moor's illustrations. Judging from the cover and those interspersed through the review copy, they are the perfect accompaniment to Jo Clarke's gorgeous prose.
Libby and the Parisian Puzzle achieved that perfect combination that every successful detective book needs - a convincing and intriguing puzzle that keeps the reader guessing, a detective you can really root for, and an emotional core that keeps the reader caring. Not to mention the villain - and oh what a dastardly villain it is.....but you'll have to read the book yourself to find out who it is, and reading this book is something I heartily recommend (have croissants on hand - you will get hungry)..
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This is the first book in what I hope will be a series about Libby, girl detective. When Libby’s mum has to work abroad, she is sent to live with her aunt, who is in charge of a travelling school. I loved this idea! This term the school is in Paris, so we got to ‘visit’ loads of iconic Parisian landmarks as well as trying to work out the unravelling mystery. Libby and her new school friend Connie take on a jewel thief and work together to try to clear her aunt’s name. This book was so enjoyable and well crafted - I can’t wait to read a paper copy to see all the illustrations and am looking forward to more in the series - New York next?
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When Libby's mum has to go to South America for work, Libby is sent to Paris to join her aunt's travelling school. But when Aunt Agatha is accused of a stealing a valuable piece of jewellery, Libby and her roommate Connie must investigate the mysterious events and unmask the true criminal. In between visiting famous Parisian landmarks and eating plenty of macarons - of course! 

Libby is a delightfully inquisitive detective and I loved the idea of a travelling school. It's a brilliant setup for a series of books - each featuring the sights and sensations of a new city. 

'Libby and the Parisian Puzzle' is ideal for fans of Annabelle Sami's 'Agent Zaiba' series - perfectly pitched for younger children who love mystery stories but aren't quite ready for the scarier murder mysteries. Jo Clarke's librarian expertise is clear - this is definitely one I'll be buying for the school library!
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A cracking debut mystery novel for the younger middle grade audience.

It's like a city break wrapped up in a detective story, and the wonderful concept of a traveling school sets up a brilliant series of globetrotting adventures to come.
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Libby and the Parisian Puzzle by Jo Clarke is an absolute delight. Full of spark and intuition, it celebrates the fact that kids can do anything – including outsmarting the adults who think they’re more clever. This fast-paced mystery overflowing with clues took me back to my love of Nancy Drew mysteries as a child. Libby and her new friend, Connie, are so observant and challenge the reader to keep up with them as they race around Paris finding evidence, identifying suspects and finally solving the puzzle.

Libby is used to an adventurous life. Having travelled all over with her mum, she’s a bit disappointed that she isn’t able to go with her this time. Mum is headed for Ecuador and Libby is going to Paris to attend her aunt’s boarding school. This is no ordinary school! Each term it moves to a different place giving students opportunities to learn about the culture of their new location. One of the most important aspects of this culture is the food! Libby samples so many delicious Parisian delights making readers more than a little bit hungry in the process. It would be a good idea to have some hot chocolate and pastries on hand when reading this book! French language is also sprinkled throughout giving it a really special flair.

This new twist on a boarding school story is refreshing. Warm and joyful, this is a happy adventure and Libby is a new friend right from the first page. I can’t wait to share this book with my mystery-loving daughter! I’m looking forward to Libby’s next adventure already!

Thank you to Firefly Press for this wonderful book!
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