Kat Wolfe Takes the Case

Lauren St John

Illustrated by Daniel Deamo

While rescuing an injured dog from a cliff, Kat and Harper witness the start of a series of events that lead to the Wolfe & Lamb Detective Agency’s second case.  A collapsing cliff reveals the bones of a rare dinosaur and Bluebell Bay suddenly becomes the centre of interest for both palaeontologists and movie stars. Kat is in demand as a pet sitter, but a suspicious death leads Kat and Harper to unravel a mystery that involves dinosaur bones, endangered species and Mary Anning, as well as a resourceful python and other characterful animals.

This is the second book in Lauren St John’s Wolfe and Lamb detective series and although I really enjoyed the first one, it inevitably involved quite a lot of setting up the characters and the basis for the series.  This one has the advantage of being all adventure and non-stop action.  The relationship between Kat and Harper develops, we learn more about The Dark Lord AKA Kat’s Grandfather (who dramatically reappeared in her life in book 1), and Edith and the Armchair Adventurers’ Club have their part to play. Alongside the main mystery, Tiny (Kat’s savannah cat) gets into trouble and sorting that out is an adventure in itself.

Once again St John makes lots of connections to very topical subjects – in particular endangered species and the threat of extinction that many face.  I don’t think she could have known that its publication would virtually coincide with the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations, but it couldn’t be more aligned with current events.  This is a topic close to St John’s heart – she is a supporter of the international animal charity Born Free and includes information about why she has focussed on this issue at the back of the book.  As the second in the series, it probably doesn’t work easily as a class book (although not impossible), but these are well written and engaging detective stories. They are ideal for the 8-11 age group and would work well for fans of Robin Stevens and Katherine Woodfine, especially if they also like animals.  Abi Elphinstone is quoted on the front of the book as saying it is “the kind of book I would have devoured as a child” and I find myself very much in agreement.