Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Emerald Casket by Richard Newsome

Two boys and two girls, exotic and dangerous India, jewels that unlock caskets, evil men with murderous intentions, dreams that foretell the future, chases, climbs and so much more, The Emerald Casket is the sequel to The Billionaires Curse.

I commented in my first blog entry about this book saying that I really did not like the cover design but I think I have changed my mind. This second book clearly has the same designer and with the hints of crabs, ninjas, flood waters and temples the cover this time the cover does seem the perfect way to showcase what is to come when you open this book.

Apart from the evil Mason Green the adults in these books, especially the police, are all a set of bumbling fools. This second book opens with Constable Lethbridge at home alone attempting to make breakfast only to discover the milk is long past it’s use-by date. He makes a cup of tea sweetened with honey and wanders into his back yard to check on his beloved pigeons. He doesn’t notice when a large plop slops into his tea. Unfortunately his pigeons are no help when Lethbridge is attacked in his kitchen by figure clothed entirely in black. He scribbles an SOS and slips it into the tube on his pigeon’s leg but when he finally wakes up several hours later his pigeons are happily pecking at bird seed in his kitchen and his notebook (with all the case notes from the first adventure) has been stolen.

Meanwhile Gerald (he is the billionaire) and his two friends twins Sam and Ruby receive an invitation to visit Alisha Gupta in India. Alisha helped in the first installment when they were looking for the diamond to open casket number one. Gerald as a billionaire owns a plane of course and on boarding the Captain suggests a game of plane sledding – this sounds like terrific fun. On arrival in India, though, the scene is set for spies and kidnappers. At the airport Gerald sees a mysterious man “The black-clad figure remained motionless, staring. Gerald could feel the eyes drilling into him.” This is the first of many people who appear to be trailing our team.

The girls go shopping on their first day and while on this expedition Gerald is confronted by a fortune teller who hands him a mysterious card bearing his family crest and a tower. This leads the kids to take a luxury but hazardous train trip to the Taj Mahal and from there to the lost city of Mamallapuram which disappeared under a tsunami many years ago.

By the end of this amazing romp we have the emerald and the second casket as you might have predicted but now the way is set for Book Three of the trilogy with our intrepid heroes contemplating a journey to France.

In my first blog of this series I held great hopes for Mr Fry unfortunately these were not realised in the second book. I do hope we can learn more about this contradictory butler in the next installment. I recommend this series for any one who likes rapid adventure, a few laughs and kids who never give up. You can read more on the author's site.

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