The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow – Katherine Woodfine


You are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of Sinclair’s department store!

Enter a world of bonbons, hats, perfumes and MYSTERIES around every corner. WONDER at the daring theft of the priceless CLOCKWORK SPARROW! TREMBLE as the most DASTARDLY criminals in London enact their wicked plans! GASP as our bold heroines, Miss Sophie Taylor and Miss Lilian Rose, CRACK CODES, DEVOUR ICED BUNS and vow to bring the villains to justice… 

Other books by the author

The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth

The Crime Club: Mystery and Mayhem (anthology)


Author Website

Author video

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20 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow – Katherine Woodfine

  1. My piano teacher often tells me to get the notes imprinted on my brain! After reading this book, I have some impressive, well thought up characters imprinted on it as well. This marvellous, meticulous mystery dropped just the right number of hints at exactly the right times. Although the mole, or person responsible for the theft at the store, was introduced very early in the book, we had no idea that he wasn’t who he seemed to be. My only criticism is that I thought Lil rather irritating! I do find really girly characters annoying because most of us are really intelligent and way more interesting! Having said that, I really liked the bit towards the end when Sophie thinks she recognises the real Baron. This subtle detail paves the way for the next book, which I’m really keen to read.

  2. This is a very thrilling story with a daring plot. The story flowed so well that I found myself not wanting to put it down! My favourite character was Lil as she had a great sense of adventure and was always looking on the bright side. I savoured the action, especially the bit when Sophie is escaping from the Baron’s house. I think this is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I’ve just ordered the sequel!

  3. This book was jam packed with drama and excitement. I liked the way the author used language that fitted in with the period and setting as it made the story more believable. Amazing plot – I really enjoyed this mystery.

  4. This was a really good mystery, detailed and very interesting. I was rather surprised that the girls were so independent and didn’t need chaperones when they were alone with men but that didn’t stop me enjoying the story.

  5. I loved how the emotion differed in this book, it really helped the storyline. I liked how the author had lots of different-acting characters.

    It is a very good book. You never know what’s coming and it makes your heart beat.

    The Mystery Of The Clockwork Sparrow is an exciting novel with four brave protagonists: Sophie, Lil, Billy and Joe.The story is set in an old department store called Sinclair’s. Katherine Woodfine is an excellent author and I enjoyed reading this book very much. The storyline kept me interested throughout the whole novel and I strongly recommend this book to children age 9+.

    This is a must-read mystery book with plot twists and an excellent ending. I will definitely go out and buy the sequel!

  6. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the front cover. It’s the front of a department store in two quite different colours that I would not have imagined going together. When you look closely, the windows on the front display different events in the book and really drag you in! It’s brilliant!
    This fast-paced adventure follows the work life of orphan, Sophie Taylor and her friends, Lillian Rose and Billy, all of whom work at Sinclair’s new department store. I imagine this to be a bit like Selfridges, Harrods and Fortnum and Masons nowadays. I thought the plot was clever and the bad characters were cleverly disguised. I really enjoyed reading it and I can’t wait to read the next one!

  7. I thought this story had a very good plot and it unwound at the right speed to make the book interesting. The characters reacted to events with enough differences to make them believably unique. I did find some parts a little confusing but the ideas were quite original. The description was excellent and I could really picture the costumes and the different rooms in Sinclair’s. The descriptions of the weather in particular really helped create the mood to match certain characters’ struggles.
    At first I found it hard to believe that practically everyone was working for the Baron but it panned out well. When Sophie made her escape and Joe observed that it was too easy, I thought there was going to be a plot twist but it didn’t happen. This was rather puzzling. I was rather disappointed that we didn’t have a dramatic scene in which there was a last minute attempt to stop the bomb exploding. Nevertheless, the traditional method of having the characters sitting in the office and talking it through to help the reader tie up loose ends is more in keeping with the period in which the story is set.

  8. The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow was an undemanding but intriguing story. Although there are many books out there with similar themes, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the writing style. The story was more thrilling than I thought it would be and the characters more developed, though I would have liked a bit more interaction between Lil and Joe. Nevertheless, the book lacked a lot of the ‘mystery’ that it promised from the title and I felt like everything was given to me. This was a straightforward, pleasant and easy read and I enjoyed it.

  9. This is such an exciting story – I loved it so much! Sophie and her friends go through heart-breaking, humorous and dramatic times and the author carries you with them every step of the way. The tension was incredible; I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I can’t wait to read the sequel, The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth!

  10. This was a very exciting and enjoyable book but I didn’t feel that the characters behaved as people would have in that era. I felt that the girls were far too self-confident and pushy. I also found it difficult to picture the characters so I can’t give the book full marks. However, I love murders and mysteries and this is probably the best I’ve read.

  11. This is a nice, easy read. The descriptions of Sinclair’s Department Store are fabulous, the characters are memorable and I loved the ending. Despite the occasional lulls in the plot, I really enjoyed this book!

  12. I thought Clockwork Sparrow had a fantastic plot and the descriptions of Sinclair’s Department Store and the characters were outstanding. However, I did find the pace changed quite a lot and there were quite a lot of slow bits.

  13. It was a great pleasure to read this book. I loved the attention to detail – from the sleek fur coats to the coded messages! I thought it was an incredible mystery story with a wonderful well thought out plot and I got an enormous sense of excitement when I started to work out who had done it!

  14. This is a mystery book with a mythical write up describing like no author before. This was an amazing book, though proving itself slow in areas. I could see changes in the characters as the book progressed through its own journey.

  15. I really liked this book because it’s a mystery story set in the late Victorians and I like them and this setting at the minute. The plot is very exciting and I liked how it is set in a shop. Lil is my favourite character because she always has an idea. I can’t wait to read the Jewelled Moth!

  16. This is a magnificent mystery with an absorbing plot. The story is quite slow but the action really builds up in the final chapters. The author describes things brilliantly and I loved the description of the magical store. I liked the way Sophie developed as a character as she made friends in the store and the way some people turn out to be not who they seem. I also enjoyed the code breaking skills of Billy.
    Overall, I’d have preferred less description and more action but this was a clever story with fascinating characters and creative scenes and I think it is definitely worth reading.

  17. I thought this was a fascinating mystery with a good pace that positively galloped towards the end! Sinclair’s Department Store was described perfectly so I could imagine everything vividly. The conclusion was just right. The characters were instantly likeable and added to the story’s realism. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery!

  18. I thought this was a wonderful book with a glorious heroine and a true spirit of adventure! It also had a fascinating mystery which, in my opinion, made it a brilliant historical detective novel. The characters were totally believable and jumped into my imagination. I loved the description of Sinclair’s department store: I could really imagine being there!
    The mystery begins when valuables are stolen, Sophie comes under suspicion and pressure is put on her friends to solve the crime as quickly as possible. What made this novel stand out for me was that the criminal is discovered at the very beginning of the story – which doesn’t normally happen – but the plot centres on Sophie and her friends trying to prove it!
    I thought this was a really gripping mystery with unexpected and thrilling plot twists.

  19. I really enjoyed this book because it had a good plot and it was exciting. I like how the author used language appropriate to the Victorian era like ‘dandy’ and ‘toff’ because it made me feel I was part of the story. I also liked the way the author built each chapter up to a climax then started the next with something different and kept me hanging on, dying to know what happened. This really kept me reading! I think this book has a good chance of winning and I can’t wait to read the sequel!

  20. This book is fantastic – I highly recommend reading it! The plot is complicated, with lots of twists and turns that made it hard to put down. I really was on the edge of my seat at times. It follows the adventures of a variety of colourful characters and by the end of the story I felt as if I’d come to know them as friends and that I had been part of the adventure too. This is a red hot read for 2016!

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