Add your review
Existing reviews
Really engaging!!
I typically read books before I allow my children to read! I decided to try this one out! Once I sat down to read, I did not want to stop! It is set in the early 1900's at a lavish department store. All of the details help the reader immerse themselves in the daily life of London!  The mystery was exciting, while you can't help but enjoy the characters!! A great read!
Date: 7/22/2016 10:05 PM
Great book!
This book was so exciting to read! The characters were great, and there were well-written twists and turns of the plot that kept you on the edge of your seat. Definitely recommended for young teens and anyone who enjoys a good mystery!
Date: 8/9/2016 1:59 PM
Great read for both teens and adults!
It's well-written, and I thorougly enjoyed the storyline. It was layered enough that it didn't feel too "young" but not so mature that young teens couldn't get into the story. The 4 main characters were well-rounded, interesting, and each presented a vital part to the story. Most of the characters seemed older than their given age (Sophie is 14, but seems closer to 20), some of this could be ascribed to the era in which it is written. Descriptions were great and interesting and the author did a great job with setting and era.
Date: 8/10/2016 10:03 PM
Great balance of vivid writing and captivating mystery
I definitely judged this book by its cover... I was hooked by the whimsical but curious illustration on the front. And I loved this book from beginning to end! As a high school teacher, I'm always on the lookout for books for my students that have worthwhile content. The writing in this book is excellent - it really transports you to turn of the century London - but the mystery is equally engaging. Like other reviewers, I loved the layers of both the story and the characters. The narration switches characters between chapters, but I didn't find this off-putting. It was fun to see different perspectives as the story was woven together. I would recommend this book to both teens and adults!
Date: 4/14/2017 10:30 PM
A well written historical mystery
This book was difficult to put down! Based in a luxurious London department store in the early 1900's, readers are thrown into a web of mystery as a young girl goes about trying to prove her innocence; with a little help from some friends. It is very well written with plot twists to keep you guessing and imagery to help you feel like you are there. Perfect for young teens, or even some pre-teens, to adults! Even better for those who enjoy a good detective novel.
Date: 4/16/2017 12:00 AM
Fantastic Mystery!
As a child, Nancy Drew books were my favorite. This has a very similar feel in a slightly more grown-up way. Perfect for any child (or adult) who is interested in finding out "whodunit"! It has elements of suspense, history and beauty. A must-have!
Date: 4/25/2017 12:39 PM
Magical mystery
I read this book myself and highly recommend it to teens! The writing is advanced enough that it kept me wanting to come back for more and it transported me back into the elegance of the opening of a new-exclusive department store in London in the 1900's.  The young heroine is an orphan-as her father and mother have passed away and she is challenged to find her way in her first job, face the challenges of "cliche-y" girls and find friendship and work as team with another girl and two boys.  

Can't wait to read the second book!
Date: 7/21/2017 11:34 AM
Favorite Usborne Chapter Book
This book was such a wonderful read (even for a 27 year old)! I didn't want to put it down! If you liked Nancy Drew or other mystery books growing up, this is along the same vein. The book is captivating the whole time! I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
Date: 11/10/2017 1:39 PM
Great for advanced young readers through adults
As an adult, I wanted to preview this book so as to know who to recommend it to. The content is appropriate for younger advanced readers through adults. The plot and characters are well developed. I really enjoy historical fiction and this one did not disappoint. I look forward to reading more of these mysteries.
Date: 1/30/2018 4:43 PM
Wonderfully written mystery for kids and adults!
I am a new consultant with Usborne Books and More and I have been trying to read many of the older kid’s chapter books. I am always ready to read a mystery and when I saw these 3 books in a series are set in late 19th century England, I was hooked!  The characters are quite believable and the author brings them to life so well!  The plot takes unexpected twists and turns and you really don’t know “who-dunnit” until the very end.  Just the kind of mystery I love!  I think I stayed up until 2:00 am one night to finish this and I can’t wait to read books 2 and 3 in the series!  A great read, and I highly recommend this book for advanced pre-teen readers up to adults!
Date: 4/30/2018 6:58 PM
Beautifully written and so much fun!
As a mystery lover and a big fan of the Masterpiece PBS show The Paradise, I was really excited to read this mystery set in a department store in London! And I am happy to say that it did not disappoint! From start to finish, it is well written and age appropriate but highly adventurous tale of a girl, Sophie, who finds herself without parents at the age of 14 and lands a position at a prestigious department store in London. While some of the story is a little far-fetched, as she and her friends go up against a criminal mastermind, it is always entertaining! I highly recommend this book for ages 10 and up, even younger if readers are relatively advanced. I also recommend it for adults who are looking for a fun summer read!
Date: 5/29/2018 11:02 AM
Friendship, Bravery, and Integrity
I have been intrigued by this book for months and I'm so glad I finally found the time to read it!The book weaves friendship, integrity, and bravery into a story involving a mysterious theft from a brand new department store in turn of the century London. I was surprised at how well the four main characters were developed, and pleased that the focus of that development centered on choosing to do what is right, even if it is difficult. What a great lesson, especially for this age group! Don't let the specifications fool you (ages 10-14)...I highly recommend the Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow for both youth AND adults. A great read, in line with classics like Nancy Drew and The Boxcar Children.
Date: 9/16/2018 9:32 PM
Loved it!
Read before I let me 9 year old read it. I LOVED the book, as I love a good "who-done-it" and the author does a fantastic job with building suspense.

My only reservation is (and I am surprised no one else has mentioned this), the topics and action in the book may be too mature for a 9 year old.

Direct examples: the heroine is alone in a dark alley with a man and the tension leaves the reader concerned for her safety; one character is badly beaten, another heroine has a gun held to her head, another character is hit in the head with a gun. at one point the heroine is drugged and wakes up not knowing where she is.

maybe my 9 year old is sensitive, but these moments of violence and suspense would be too much just yet for him. I would consider it in another couple years, late elementary/early middle school.

With that said I plan on buying the rest of the series for myself and keeping it around for when my kids are old enough! it would make a great vacation/easy beach read! :)
Date: 3/9/2020 4:26 PM
Great mystery set in 1909 London!
This was a fun mystery in a middle grades series set in 1909 in London's finest new department store, Sinclair's. A group of four young people become unlikely friends: Sophie, former member of the gentility who is now orphaned and is thrilled to be a shopgirl at Sinclair's; Lil, a beautiful girl who is one of the living mannequins who model the store's fashions and also an aspiring actress; Joe, who has been living rough on the streets and is on the run; and Billy, an apprentice porter who is more interested in reading detective stories than sticking to his duties. Drawn together as they support each other in the first days of the store's opening, they band together to solve the mystery of who stole the clockwork sparrow and other precious jewels from Sinclair's while trying to clear the name of one of their own.

The descriptions of the various departments of the store, the London streets, the fashions, and the occupations of the time vividly bring the story to life. If you enjoy historical fiction, this really puts you right into the time period.

The mystery is intriguing, but be aware that while this case is solved, the overall mystery continues.
Date: 6/4/2020 3:34 PM
Excellent writing!
I bought all the books in this series. I read them first before I gave them to my kids. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THEM ALL! I couldn't put them down. Excellent writing, you felt like you were right beside the characters, strolling through Sinclair's store, and holding your breath with them. Highly recommend!
Date: 10/10/2020 5:28 PM
Awesome mystery!
I’m 51 and absolutely loved this story! Our two main characters are so real, I can’t wait to read the second book in this series! Great character motivation and some insight on London’s history! This is a story for adults as well as teens!
Date: 8/28/2021 6:34 PM
mysterious, but with a fun shopping side
i love this book. i love shopping in fancy stores, and, coincidentally, hats.Oh and mysteries
Date: 10/31/2021 12:47 PM