The Mystery of Smugglers Cove by Paul Moxham is the first in his new The Mystery Series. Set in 1950's England, we follow a group of four children (Joe, Amy, Sarah and Will) on their adventures.
The first book starts it all off. Three siblings meet a fourth member and together they explore the local caves and get a greater adventure than even their imaginations could have thought of.
Reading the first book is very reminiscent of the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. The author himself states that he took inspiration from it and it really shows. I was a huge fan of the 1995 tv series and it was a large part of my childhood, so reading this book has the rosy tint of nostalgia added to it. Anyone familiar with the Famous Five will know what to expect from these books. Great childrens' adventure stories that never disappoint.
However, this story is not nearly as well-written as their inspiration source. The children are just a little off, and the characters all make nonsensical decisions. They're nowhere near as likeable, and their 'adventurous spirit' mostly comes off as stupidity or foolishness.
I don't think this is a terrible book. I think comparing it to what it so obviously tries to pay homage to is expecting too much.
Overall, it's not a book that will become a children's classic, but that doesn't mean it's not worth reading. Perhaps the other books in the series are better done.
This series could be good for any younger readers, any readers nostalgic for the good old days and especially any fans of the Famous Five series, but maybe just go for that series instead.
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author through a giveaway. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.