‘Mystery in the Palace of Westminster’ by Sarah Lustig
Also on the tour today, The Pufflekitteh Reads
Theo Duncan is just an ordinary student. Except he also happens to be the son of the Prime Minister, Will Duncan.
When the parliamentary mace is stolen from inside the Houses of Parliament, Theo is determined to help his dad get it back. But he can’t do it alone. And when help is offered, there’s a problem. It comes from the new girl at school, Sammy Jhor, who’s a supporter of the opposition party.
Theo and Sammy form an unlikely team to spy on government officials, sneak through the corridors of Downing Street and pursue the thief through the Palace of Westminster.
But when the evidence points to suspects at the highest levels of government, finding the thief could threaten Will Duncan’s leadership.
Can Theo and Sammy put aside their differences to find the mace – and the thief – before the government is brought to its knees?
As always with anything which touches on politics in literature, there is the difficulty of life colliding with fiction.
For example, reading this frightfully nice book aimed at children/young adults, the thing which most stands out for a reader in the contemporary age is exactly this collision.
Hear teenage son of a Prime Minister, think Euan Blair.
Hear a Prime Minister even deigning to acknowledge paternity of a child think, ‘Nope, not going to happen’.
Also unbelievable in the modern age – a PM in any way interested in things “like recovering the parliamentary mace and by extension the legitimacy of the government.’ Our glorious leader prefer proroguing.
None of this is the fault of Sarah Lustig who has written a nice, old fashioned novel set around the aforementioned recovery of the mace of state.
Poor 14 – nearly 15, mind – Theo has to contend with the usual embarrassing parents, except his father is flanked by armed personal protection officers and he can’t open his front door without cameras clicking and journalists shouting questions.
On the bright side, Samira (Sammy ) Jhor has just joined his school, and now his heart is aflutter while they set off on a quest to help his father.
I enjoy these sort of young adult(ish) novels when they come across the review queue. A criticism might be that they central protagonists always seem very young – I work in high schools. 15 year olds aren’t this nice. There’s lot more single entendre and vaping.
However, in a world where the Home Secretary would no doubt be deporting Samira unless her parents donated a tennis game’s worth of cash in a suitcase to prove she wasn’t the wrong kind of immigrant and the Prime Minister is trying to spend his time crowbarring his partner into six figure government careers whilst simultaneously turning the heart of government into the last days of Nero’s Rome, it is nice to read a novel as well written, pure hearted and entertaining as ‘Mystery in the Palace of Westminster’.
I sincerely wish that those at the top in the real world has as much civic responsibility and interest in doing what is right for the country as 14 year old Theo.
This is as assured a debut as I have read by an author working in this genre and I look forward to Book Two immensely.
Author Bio –
Sarah Lustig grew up in London and went to school in Westminster, with politicians’ children. Her experiences at school and interest in politics inspired the idea for the Westminster Mysteries series. Mystery in the Palace of Westminster is her debut novel. She has been a book editor for nearly 15 years and now lives in Buckinghamshire, where she spends her time reading, writing and pottering on her balcony garden.
Social Media Links –