Prior to release, people have already been transfixed by this this tantalising murder mystery, which has been called an “absolute delight” by internationally bestselling author, Stuart Turton, and featured in Book Riot‘s round-up of books which bear a strong similarity to Netflix’s Enola Holmes. In the US, where the book is being published by HarperCollins / Park Row, we were thrilled to confirm that it has been selected as a Library Reads ‘December Pick’:
— T.A. Willberg (@Tess_Amy_) November 16, 2020
With an Agatha Christie-esque crime style and Kingsman-like gadgets, this book is the first in what’s sure to be a stellar series. It follows enigmatic apprentice detective, Marion Lane, who’s thrown straight into the deep end of sleuthing on the grim streets of 1950’s London:
They were a band of mysterious private detectives who lived beneath the streets of London in a labyrinth of twisted tunnels and ancient hallways, the entrance to which no one had ever found. The Inquirers were something of a myth, a whispered legend that may or may not exist, depending on whom you asked. They were like ghosts, some said, these sleuths who guarded the city…
Elaborately disguised and hidden deep beneath the city’s streets lies the world of Miss Brickett’s, a secret detective agency, training and housing the mysterious Inquirers. From traversing deceptive escape rooms full of baited traps and hidden dangers, to engineering almost magical mechanical gadgets, apprentice detectives at Miss Brickett’s undergo rigorous training to equip them with the skills and knowledge they will need to solve the mysteries that confound London’s police force.
But nothing can prepare 23-year-old apprentice Marion Lane for what happens after the arrest of her friend and mentor Frank on suspicion of murder: he has tasks Marion with clearing his name and saving his life. Her investigation will place Marion and her friends in great peril as they venture into the forbidden maze of uncharted tunnels that surround Miss Brickett’s.
Being discovered out of bounds means immediate dismissal, but that is the least of Marion’s problems when she discovered that the tunnels contain more than just secrets…
We are certain that it will see even more buzz – especially given that early readers can’t stop praising T.A.’s wit, imagination and artful storytelling:
“The most fun I’ve had with a book this year. Every page is a delight” Stuart Turton, bestselling author of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
“A delightfully stylish romp through London’s foggy streets and secret tunnels, complete with a tantalizing, steampunk-flavored mystery. Willberg has conjured a sharp-witted and sympathetic heroine, a worthy match for the sinister forces and shadowy organizations arrayed against her. Delicious fun!” Helene Wecker, New York Times bestselling author of The Golem and The Jinni
“This book is so delightfully fun & escapist! An underground investigative organization…clocks and keys and hidden rooms…a secret map…alchemy and old war secrets…there is so much to love here! Brava to Willberg for a brilliant, adventuresome debut.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
“Wow. Just wow. I often say that I “couldn’t put the book down,” but this time I literally could not put it down! All that I remember from the last two days is sleeping and reading this book! I absolutely adored this steampunk-ish, alternative history mystery.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
“This book is everything my huge detective loving heart has ever desired – a secret detective agency disguised as a bookshop, set deep beneath London in the 1950s, starring Inquirer-In-Training Marion Lane. Seriously, what more could I ever want from a plot?” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
T.A. Willberg was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up on a small-holding outside Durban surrounded by horses, sheep, chickens and more snakes and spiders than she cares to recall. Her mother, after whom her protagonist is named, is a trained nurse with a degree in English Literature who worked at the Institute of Race Relations during the years of apartheid. Her father is German and a mechanical engineer with a wildly inventive imagination, and certainly the influence behind many of the gadgets in her novel.
T.A. was home-schooled until she was 16, then spent the next 2 years in competitive horse riding and represented South Africa in mounted skill-at-arms. At 18 she began a seven year chiropractic degree at the Durban University of Technology, where she qualified with a masters, focusing on spinal deformities. After 2 years of working and living in Cape Town, she moved to Malta with her partner where she now divides her time between chiropractic and writing.
You certainly need this fabulous title – and its gorgeous jacket – on your shelf as quickly as possible. Treat yourself to a copy today!