History Mysteries: Diamond Jack, by Mark Greenwood

Just then, Jack discovered a sodden parcel wedged between the plane’s ribs.
He tore off the string binding and red wax seals. Inside was a bloated leather wallet, bursting with small packages wrapped in tissue. He emptied the contents of one into his calloused hands. What he saw stole his breath away …

As a plane prepares to ferry Dutch refugees out of Java to escape war-torn Java, the captain is passed a valuable package to carry to safety. But the plane is attacked, and crash-lands, the passage temporarily forgotten in the quest for survival. When Jack Palmer, a sailor and beachcomber, comes across the abandoned wreck of the plane he can’t help but be curious about what he might find on board. What he does find is beyond anything he could imagine.

Diamond Jack, the first title in the new History Mysteries series by Mark Greenwood, is a junior novel exploring the events surrounding the crash of a Dakota aircraft and subsequent disappearance of a parcel of diamond on board. Using the known facts and people involved, interwoven with a fictionalised version of what might have happen, the story provides an intriguing glimpse into the past. Young readers will be drawn into the mystery as they also view and learn about a chapter of Australian war history.

With historical photographs, maps and notes including a timeline, this is history children can connect with.

History Mysteries: Diamond Jack, by Mark Greenwood
Penguin Random House, 2017
ISBN 9780143309260

Verity Sparks and the Scarlet Hand, by Susan Green

Papa was strolling towards the exit and as I turned to follow him, I saw her. In the cloud of smoke and steam left by the departing train, she appeared ghostly and indistinct, but as she moved towards us every detail sharpened. The grey dress, the modish hat, the beautiful face with deep brown eyes. My heart began to thump wildly. She was following me. It had been her all along, in the train, in Collins Street, in the Book Bazaar, perhaps even on the St Kilda Esplanade. Who was she? Why was she shadowing me? Did I have the courage to confront her?
But in a flash I relaised that I didn’t want to. Papa must not see her. This woman looked so much like Mama. It would only upset him.

Verity is happy with her Papa, and their ever-growing circle of friends. But a strange lady is following her – a woman who claims to be a relative, even though that seems impossible. When Verity and her friends go to the country for a holiday, it seems she can forget about the stranger for a while, and relax. But strange things are happening, and when Verity’s friend, Druscilla, and Helen, the wife of their host, are kidnapped, the holiday comes to an end.

A ransom note warns that police must not be involved, so the family’s friend, SP, investigates. Verity tries to help, but her visions, which seem to be offering clues, are confusing. Why was a red glove left at the scene of the kidnapping, and why do her visions also link to the colour red? And does the disappearance have something to do with the strange lady who was following Verity?

Verity Sparks and the Scarlet Hand is the third book featuring this fiesty heorine. Verity is part-detective, part mystic, with her visionary skills proving useful, though she struggles to understand or harness them. Set in 1880, in colonial Victoria, and featuring a wide range of characters from around the globe, the story will engage strong readers with a love of mystery and of historical fiction.

Verity Sparks and the Scarlet Hand, by Susan Green
Walker Books, 2015
ISBN 9781922244895

Also in the series:
The Truth About Verity Sparks
Verity Sparks, Lost and Found