A fun, well-paced MG detective novel with lots of history, especially around abolitionism, the Underground Railroad, and the election of Abraham Lincoln. The novel is based on the story of Kate Warne, the first female employee of The Pinkerton Detective Agency, and Hannigan's protagonist is 11-year-old Nell, Kate's recently orphaned niece. Nell earns her stripes on the detective team while also untangling the mysterious disappearance of her best friend and the death of her father. Ages 9-12.— Kathy
Based on the extraordinary true story of America's first-ever female detective, this fast-paced adventure recounts feats of daring and danger...including saving the life of Abraham Lincoln!
Eleven-year-old Nell Warne arrives on her aunt's doorstep lugging a heavy sack of sorrows. If her Aunt Kate rejects her, it's the miserable Home for the Friendless.
Luckily, canny Nell makes herself indispensable to Aunt Kate...and not just by helping out with household chores. For Kate Warne is the first-ever female detective employed by the legendary Pinkerton Detective Agency. And Nell has a knack for the kind of close listening and bold action that made Pinkerton detectives famous in Civil War-era America. With huge, nation-changing events simmering in the background, Nell uses skills new and old to uncover truths about her past and solve mysteries in the present.
About the Author
Kate Hannigan is the author of the Cupcake Cousins series, the League of Secret Heroes series, The Great Chicago Fire: Rising from the Ashes, and The Detective's Assistant. She is a former journalist and lives in Chicago with her family.
* "Accessible and captivating...With skilled writing that conveys the excitement of detective work, the appeal of history, and Nell's authentic, good-humored personal growth, this is one for the ages."—The Bulletin (starred review)
* "Hannigan keeps a strong narrative hand on the several stories she has going on simultaneously: the mysteries surrounding the deaths of Nell's father and uncle; Nell's correspondence with her best friend, who traveled the Underground Railroad to safety in Canada; and several Pinkerton adventures that involve chicanery, American history, and lots of excitement."—Booklist (starred review)
"Hannigan makes skillful use of period details, bringing the novel's threads together in a nail-biting conclusion. Nell is a fearless, no-nonsense heroine, and her dry-witted narration drives this rollicking historical escapade."—Publishers Weekly
"A rousing fictional account of the remarkable career of a pioneering woman."—Kirkus
"Nell is an irrepressible character: spirited, thoughtful, and intuitive...Recommend to readers who enjoy adventure, history, and stories featuring independent, strong-minded girls."—SLJ