Reviews /

Kate on the Case: the Headline Hoax

Authored by Hannah Peck
Illustrated by Hannah Peck
Published by Templar Publishing

Kate on the Case: the Headline Hoax is the second in a series of exciting and funny tales by Hannah Peck. This story launches the reader into the world of fraud, deception and garbage at ‘The Lookout Post’ and how our heroine, Kate and her sidekick Rupert, solve the complex mystery of who has been tampering with the famous newspaper.

The story begins with Kate: our curious and brave main character has been treated to a ticket giving her a tour of ‘The Lookout Post’, the place where her ‘One True Idol’ Catherine Rodgriguez, writes her world-famous articles. We are treated to an incredible description of ‘Johannes’, the impressive machine responsible for the printing press.

‘Johannes loomed above them, as tall as a house and surrounded by metal steps, viewing platforms and huge vats of bubbling ink’. 

Typically, Hannah Peck then wastes no time projecting the reader into the action. Figgy Fitzharris, the Chief Executive Officer for ‘The Lookout Post’ calls Kate, our special correspondent in training, into her elaborate office to help her crack the case open on who is sabotaging the newspaper.

The reader then goes on a whirlwind adventure around the newsroom, weaving in and out of the fantastically elaborate characters and backstories, unpicking the clues with Kate as she uses her skills of keen observation and deduction and unravels the shocking twist at the end of the story!

This book is hilariously funny, pacey and full of all the levels of tension one would hope to experience when reading a time-pressured sleuth mystery typical of this genre. Kate has the resourcefulness and independence of Nancy Drew and the loyalty and strong moral compass of Miss Marple. It is very difficult for the reader not to be inspired and, arguably, wish to follow in the footsteps of such a courageous, smart and focussed main character.

The reader will enjoy the pace of the narrative alongside the cinematic descriptions of the newsroom. The language is action-packed and full of suspense. As well as this, Peck has created larger-than-life characters, again distinctive to this genre. She provides illustrations of these characters as portraits at the beginning of the book, then accompanies the narrative with lively illustrations throughout. The golden yellow and greyscale palette is striking.

A number of themes are explored in this book, namely: envy, jealousy of a perceived competitor is mirrored in both the adult and child worlds; friendship and loyalty; resilience and courage.

A great book for any KS2 classroom and school library. It’s great to have another steadfast, tenacious female sleuth to add to the collection.