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Book Review: Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls

Imogene & the Case of the Missing Pearls

By Elizabeth Varadan

ImogeneChildren’s literature is a far trickier genre than it appears to be. As CS Lewis famously asserted, a book isn’t worth a child’s time if it isn’t worth an adult’s time.

Elizabeth Varadan has crafted a story that is certainly aimed at, and appropriate for, children, but I found myself getting pulled into Imogene’s world as well. Layers of Victorian charm and detail are present, but they are presented from a perspective of a smart and opinionated young girl. I’m reminded of two very different series: The American Girl Samantha books and the Flavia de Luce mysteries, the hit series by Alan Bradley.

Like the books starring Samantha, Imogene is educational without feeling overly preachy or digressing into tangents that would alienate middle-grade readers. Without necessarily realizing it, children will be introduced to Victorian family life, clothing, class system, and a myriad of other historical details woven organically into the tale.

The Flavia de Luce mysteries are darker tales aimed toward adults but starring a young girl with a distinctive voice. Imogene’s personality is equally vivid, and while her mystery stays in territory more appropriate for children, it is equally entertaining. Children benefit from reading about clever, self-actualized characters of their own age, and Imogene is an excellent female example.

Finally, Imogene would be a wonderful introduction for young readers into the world and character of Sherlock Holmes. Varadan presents him through her title character’s eyes, a tall detective who makes her “think of an exclamation point.” One of Holmes’s most humanizing characteristics in the Doyle canon is his affinity with children, and that his on display here, free of sentiment but with touching detail.

Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls is an entertaining and well-written story that will delight children–and the adults who gift it to them. Highly recommended.

Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls is available at Amazon.

A copy of this work was provided by the publisher. All opinions expressed are the reviewer’s own.

Amy Thomas is a book reviewer, freelance essayist, and author of The Detective and The Woman mystery novel series featuring Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler, published by MX Publishing. She holds a degree in professional communication and is an avid knitter, geek, and grammar nerd. Amy blogs about Sherlock Holmes at and can be reached for professional enquiries at Connect with her on Twitter @Pickwick12. Email her at

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