Reviews /

Clutch

Authored by M.G. Leonard
Illustrated by Paddy Donnelly
Published by Walker Books

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Clutch is the third instalment of M.G. Leonard’s wonderful Twitchers Club series, a collection of crimes centred around Aves Wood and the irrepressible main character, Corvus Featherstone – or Twitch, to you and me.

Twitch’s passion for birdwatching has seen him develop friendships as he and a group of children have solved mysteries involving the wildlife he so adores. This story starts with the theft of a peregrine falcon’s egg – but who would do such a thing, and why? The thefts coincide with the start of a local fishing competition, so a range of potential suspects is quickly presented for Twitch and his gang to follow. However, their secret sleuthing is soon turned on its head when Twitch’s own knowledge and lack of an alibi sees him placed at the centre of the accusations.

Themes of conservation, respect for nature, and caring are all present, and the children’s passion for birds is matched by their determination to do what is right. There is a large cast of characters, and each of them brings something positive to the table. The Twitchers support one another, gently encourage each other’s strengths, and realise they have power in the collective. What a wonderful message to give to children. I admire the earnestness of each of the children in their quest to right the wrongs of their elders, both in the short-term in respect of the crimes, but also a longer-term view to actually care for the natural world.

As a fan of M.G. Leonard’s Beetle Boy and Adventures on Trains series, it is hard to write an unbiased review. But maybe that’s the sign of a brilliant mystery writer – it seems that each story is uniquely written, and the twists and turns come thick and fast. As a reader, you never quite know who to trust…apart from Twitch and his gang.