I was looking for something.
But what was it? Mist swirled around me and I could see only as far as my outstretched hands. Grey shapes – were they trees or rocks? – loomed up and then vanished as I ran past. My ribs ached and my breath came in ragged gasps, but I couldn’t stop. I had to find it.
I looked down at my fingers, willing them to itch or tingle, to give me a sign, to show me what I was searching for. But they were just ten ordinary digits, like everyone else’s. How could I find it if I’d lost my gift?’
Verity has found her father, and moved from 1879 England to the much younger city of Melbourne. It’s a very different life to her early years when she was apprenticed to a milliner and struggling to keep her job and make a living. Her re-found father wishes to give her every advantage and send her to an exclusive boarding school. She finds mystery there, despite the apparently loss of her finger-tingling ability to find lost things. In this case, it’s a ‘who’ rather than a ‘what’ that is lost. The action moves from Melbourne into the hills of Mt Macedon, as Verity and her friends seek answers. But it’s difficult to tell sometimes who to trust. Verity also discovers that not everyone has been as lucky in life as she has, and that help means different things to different people.
Lost and Found is the second Verity Sparks mystery adventure. The first, ‘The Truth about Verity Sparks’, is set in working class London in the second half of the 19th century. This second mystery adventure introduces many new characters in this next stage of her life. And her life is very different, not just because she is half-way around the world in colonial Australia. But Verity is the same, and mystery finds her. There are clues to be followed, mysteries to be solved. Woven through this adventure are titbits of history and place, giving life to another time. As in ‘The Truth about Verity Sparks’ there are villains and heroes, although it’s not always clear initially which are which. Themes include trust, hope, family and friendship. An entertaining adventure mystery rich with historical curiosities. Recommended for middle-primary readers.
Verity Sparks, Lost and Found, Susan Green Walker Books Australia 2013 ISBN: 9781921977886
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author