Deadly Famous by Richard Kidd (Corgi pound;4.99) is a delightfully eventful novel about a fine-art scam that is foiled by a resourceful young fellow called Stanley Buckle. Not afraid to include implausible elements in the plot for the sake of an exciting, escapist yarn, Kidd has produced a terrific read for eight to 11-year-olds, every bit as good as his excellent debut novel, The Great Goldfish Robbery.
This new book is exactly the kind of adventure story that readers in this age groupcrave, but which they may find difficult to pick out from the swathes of cool-dude narratives that are big on character colour ("Hi, I'mI"), but low on plot ingenuity.
Will someone please bring Paul (A Hundred Million Francs) Berna back into print? In the meantime, Kidd's elegantly written story, set in the 1960s and told from the perspective of an adult looking back over 30 years, is just the ticket. If it's not shortlisted for at least one major award, I'll be amazed.