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Mysteries at Sea: The Royal Jewel Plot - A.M. Howell

Alice and Sonny investigate a stolen jewel, in this installment of the bestselling Mysteries at Sea series, from award-winning author A.M. Howell.

Alice and Sonny are excited for their summer trip, sailing on the luxurious yacht the Lady Rose. They're even more excited when they find out the King of England is going to be onboard too!

There's also a precious jewel on the boat - a rare opal, kept in a tank protected by a poisonous octopus.

Until one morning, Alice discovers that the opal and octopus are both missing. The search is on to retrieve the priceless gem, before the ship reaches its destination, and everyone on board finds themselves in serious trouble.

As Alice and Sonny's investigations take them closer to the truth, they realise that everyone on the Lady Rose seems to have a secret, maybe even the king himself...

Blog tour exclusive extract:

Alice glanced at her watch in dismay. They were going to be late for the king’s arrival! Tightening her grip on her suitcase as she hurried along the hot, dusty street, her head was full of the summer storms, landslides and train delays that had hindered their journey from England to the small port of Šibenik on the Yugoslavian coast. A journey that should have taken two days had instead taken four.
On any occasion that would have been irritating, but they had been expected on the Lady Rose (the steam yacht she and her brother, Sonny, had recently inherited from their grandfather) two days ago. Now they were late and the king of England, who had paid handsomely to holiday on the yacht, was due to arrive at any minute. She, twelve-year-old Alice Townsend from Suffolk, England, was going on the king’s voyage! Even thinking these words seemed fantastical, like a story in a thrilling paperback novel. Though the king certainly wouldn’t be impressed at having to wait for them.
Swallowing her excitement, Alice took in the throngs of locals dressed in bright cotton skirts and Sunday-best suits emerging from the town’s narrow side streets, as they too headed towards the port. Many of them stared at their party of four and she wasn’t at all surprised.
There was Father at the front, his beige suit jacket as crumpled as his brow as he strode alongside a station porter pushing their luggage trolley.
He was closely followed by Dorothy, her brother’s governess and former guardian, with her frilled sun parasol and satchel of school books bumping against her side.
Then there was Sonny, her brother, just a few steps ahead as he carefully carried his pet mouse Rocket’s cage. The brim of his sun hat shielded his eyes from the sun’s glare and a canvas bag of mouse bedding slung across his shoulder gusted in the breeze, wood shavings scattering from it like breadcrumbs. A gaggle of local children laughed and scurried after him, picking them up.
Alice giggled at the unfolding scene as she walked behind, and a woman wearing an embroidered shawl smiled at her, her gaze curious and lingering. Perhaps she was wondering at Alice’s brown hair, which had kinked into rebellious waves in the heat, her dusty sandals, her ink-spotted fingers and her straw hat that now resembled a squashed mushroom after Alice had accidently sat on it during one of their long train journeys.
Returning the woman’s smile, Alice hurried after her brother, perspiration trickling down her back. She breathed in the sweet-smelling air and looked up at the clamour of red rooftops climbing a steepish hill. The excitement at finally arriving at the port was making the troubles they’d faced on their journey quickly fade.
Pressing on through the gathering crowds, they finally emerged onto the quayside. “Look. There she is. The Lady Rose,” Alice said to Sonny breathlessly. Her heart skipped as she gazed at the yacht named after their mother, who had died when they were both small.
The boat’s long white hull sat low in the sparkling emerald water, her clipper bow curving elegantly upwards. Two raked masts reached high into the sky and a squat funnel sat above the wooden deckhouse, puffing lazy breaths of smoke into the air. It was quite the most beautiful vessel Alice had ever seen. To think that her mother had travelled on it as a girl!
Alice thought of her most precious possessions nestling in her suitcase, the two silk gloves made by their mother, which had helped reunite her and Sonny little more than a month ago. They had been told that a few items belonging to their mother were still on board the Lady Rose and she felt a burst of anticipation at what they might find. Jewellery perhaps? Or, even better, a diary about a voyage her mother had taken on the yacht, like the adventures book Alice kept? Whatever these things were, she was excited to be among them.

Author Information:

A.M. Howell has always been inspired by the stories around her, and how imagination can unlock the secrets of the past. Her thrilling historical mysteries have garnered great critical acclaim, winning both the Mal Peet Children's Book Award, and the East Anglian Book of the Year Award, as well as being shortlisted for lots of other prizes. A.M. Howell lives in Suffolk with her husband and two sons.

Blogtour Post courtesy of Kaleidoscopic Tours, giveaway running on X and Instagram via my @richreadalot accounts.

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