The Five Clues (Don’t Doubt the Rainbow 1)

By: Anthony Kessel

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Size: 198mm x 129mm
ISBN : 9781785835551
Format: Paperback
Published: August 2021

Don’t Doubt the Rainbow is a new contemporary detective series with a difference – to solve each mystery, 13-year-old Edie Marble must harness the Three Principles, a new approach to understanding how the mind works that is currently proving invaluable in improving mental health and well-being in children internationally.

The first book in the series, The Five Clues, is a real-time murder-mystery thriller and family drama, combining an exciting race against time with a heart-rending story about a teenager learning to live with the loss of a beloved parent.

Winner of the Derbyshire Schools' Book Award 2023!

Walking back from her mother’s grave, 13-year-old schoolgirl Edie Marble finds a note in a pocket of the sheepskin coat that she hasn’t worn since the day, a year earlier, when she received the awful news of her mother’s death. The note is from her mother, who had been looking into a corporate human rights violation and had become fearful for her life after receiving death threats. She trusts only Edie – because of their special bond and Edie’s intelligence – and has laid a trail of clues for Edie to find that will help her to shed light on the violation and uncover the mystery around her death.

Through her wit and determination, Edie steadily gathers evidence and negotiates the dramatic twists and turns of the story by collaborating with her friends and family to gradually unearth a sinister attempt by a pharmaceutical company to conceal their illegal development of a lethal virus.

As Edie’s investigations progress she is introduced, in parallel, to the Three Principles, which help her conquer various psychological stresses and support her in coming to terms with her grief.

Reading age 11+.

The Five Clues has been shortlisted for:

  • The Dudley Children's Book Award 2021
  • The People's Book Prize 2022
  • Hampshire Book Awards 2022
  • The Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2022 (finalist)
  • CrimeFest Best Crime Fiction Novel for Children Award 2023

 Download KS3 teacher resources to support The Five Clues here.

Follow Edie's next adventure in Outside Chance – out now! 


Picture for author Anthony Kessel

Anthony Kessel

Professor Anthony Kessel is a public health physician, academic and author who works at NHS England HQ as Clinical Director (National Clinical Policy). Anthony is an international authority on public health and a Trustee Director of BookTrust, and also advises other charities on global health and mental health. Anthony has trained as an executive coach and writes a personal column – ‘Global Health Experience’ ( – exploring his leadership work through a lens of psychological well-being. 


  1. A superbly plotted mystery with a strong and determined female protagonist. A FINALIST and highly recommended!

  2. I think most young teenagers will relate to the girl, how she feels, and what she’s trying to do. I would read another book by this author.

  3. It’s exciting but it’s also thought-provoking too in terms of corporate greed and finding the truth. This is not a silly book.

  4. This is a good ‘thriller’ sort of story with a mystery involving her mum’s death for the hero to solve. I liked how she’s so determined yet still suffering from the loss of her mum.

  5. I loved that the author didn’t dumb down the story for teenagers. It’s got a complex plot which I loved, and a lot of suspense.

  6. I loved both books in the Don’t Doubt the Rainbow series – they are wonderful stories that point to the true nature of young people. Anthony describes The Three Principles in such an easily digestible and exciting way, I'm sure it will reach the hearts and minds of children of all ages.
  7. I found this series really different, offbeat and although it tackles grief, anxiety and other mental health issues, it's still so much fun to read and the plot kept me turning the pagesI often get people asking me for recommendations for kids who are 11-13 years old and who want to read more YA but aren't ready for some of the darker stuff and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this for them. Edie is a gutsy, brave character with a will of iron and a stubborn streak that gets her into a whole lot of trouble – I could really relate to her. Also I used to live in Crouch End and Edie and I were on the same bus route!

  8. This debut novel by Anthony Kessel is an exciting story which is gripping from the start but has some surprising links to current affairs. It deals with the adventures of Edie, a 13-year-old girl, who has lost her mum under mysterious circumstances a year earlier and finds a note left by her mum in her coat pocket with five clues to solve her death. This starts an adventure for Edie to uncover the truth about her mum’s death which doesn’t just take her on exciting and often dangerous adventures, but simultaneously leads her on a journey to deal with her own grief and loss. Ultimately, it is the story of a teenage girl and her family coming to terms with sudden loss and finding a new purpose in life, being guided by the memory of her. It therefore deals with difficult concepts like bereavement, loss, mourning and family relationships, but also hope for the future. 

    People who enjoy solving puzzles and like reading mysteries will like the escape-room-like clues that lead Edie to the answers she is looking for. 

    At times, the story – though fast-paced and gripping – touches upon too many different themes and topics at once, not all of them fully explored, so that the saying ‘less is more’ springs to mind. However, there are plenty of issues to be discussed with your teenage children and the story will keep you hooked until the end. Due to the nature of some of the themes, this book is most suitable to young readers aged 14 and over, as there is one scene in particular which may be unsuitable to a younger audience.

  9. We all found this book an easy read – the evolving mystery is engaging and there is a clear progression throughout as clues are solved. Similarly, more information is revealed about the characters, especially characters such as Zero, as the plot progresses, so it is good to feel a build-up of depth of understanding as well, as the plot twists and turns. There are lots of murder mystery novels and dramas, but this is the first one I have read which has a child as the lead role and it is interesting to read the story from a child’s perspective. Also, it is distinctive that there are very few reliable, straightforward adults in the story so it’s clear that children can’t just trust people because they are adults! For example, when Dr Martial warns Edie not to interfere like her mother, it is clear that the doctor isn’t just her father’s colleague but is a complex character. 

    The ‘How it all started’ section at the front works well to set the scene of everyday, ordinary life and the experience of an average child. The first-person style here makes a good introduction before the third-person narration begins in Chapter 1. This has the effect of suggesting to young adults reading the book that ‘this could happen to you.’ 

    The title of Chapter 1 (from beyond the grave) sets the tone and by the end of the first chapter, the key theme of the book is set – Edie’s mum may have been murdered. The three principles are interesting and add some continuity for Edie to be using something her mum was interested in. By the end of Chapter 2, the style of writing with direct speech and commentary makes the reader feel as though they are in on a secret with Edie. Other chapter titles such as ‘David and Goliath’ provide intriguing clues about what is coming (some sort of battle between smaller and larger forces?). The map inside the covers is good to place the settings in context. 

    Edie is a likeable character and the reader feels pleased for her when things go well, such as when she finds the note from her mum saying, ‘Well done, Sweetie’. Empathy is drawn when Zero is positive about Edie’s mum too.

    The Creation Pharmaceuticals and Flu-Away storyline is topical and gets adult readers thinking. It makes readers wonder how ruthless medical companies actually are but also shows how medical advances are happening all the time. There are plenty of opportunities to consider COVID-19 with the Public Health storyline. Impressive to see Jonathan Van-Tam mentioned at the end of the book! 

    There are dark points in the book which may not be suitable for some younger readers, with language such as ‘s–tless’ and ‘ba–rd’ in Chapter 9, plus a knife fight. The flashback of the IED and suicide bomber may upset some children too, although for us it offers an opportunity to discuss the issues with our family. Breaking into the control room at the underground station isn’t something to be encouraged either but in the context of the plot, showed Edie’s determination. Tension builds up with words such as ‘Outside, in the shadows, a man with a scar lurked.’ Kidnapping, burglary and death threats add to the drama and made our children realise how much they appreciate a calm, safe life!

    We found this a great book to read and discuss as a family. We appreciated the note from the author at the end about his own mother. There are lots of ideas we discussed such as how everyone’s lives are less straightforward than people realise and that persistence pays off. Our children found the book captivating and exciting. As an adult reader, I had a maternal concern about what would have happened if she hadn’t solved the clues, and wasn’t Edie being put at risk at several points in the plot? But thankfully there was a settled ending. We all enjoyed reading this book as there are many aspects to it such as experiencing grief and solving a murder mystery. It appealed to both males and females in our household and we are looking forward to reading the sequel which is introduced by the very last sentence of this book! 

  10. The Five Clues is a book about a 13-year-old girl called Edie. Edie finds a note from her deceased mother in her jacket pocket. Her mother has been dead for a year. This contains a clue and there are five clues in succession for Edie to find out what actually happened to her mum. Gradually, she starts to find out more and more until she discovers the horrid truth.

    This is an enjoyable book for people who like mysteries and solving riddles. There are also lots of topics and themes referred to in this book but only hinted at, raising questions for the reader, which – in my view – is what a book is all about. These topics can impact anyone, whether they are an adult or a teenage reader. 

    If unknowns are what you want, this is the right book for you! I’m looking forward to the publishing of the next book. 

    P.S. Please pass on my best wishes to Anthony, who was very kind and I enjoyed meeting him at the Dudley Children’s Book Awards. 

  11. Well, what a dark, delightful treat! I love the London setting and the troubled, yet upbeat main character. The Five Clues is perfectly pitched for readers who enjoy puzzles but are also curious about the world and life. A page-turning mystery with a positive, uplifting message that’s relevant to readers young and old. I’m a firm fan of Edie Marble!" 

  12. The first in a the Don't Doubt the Rainbow detective series by Anthony Kessel, The Five Clues is a pacey read, with themes of grief and resilience. As Edie works to unravel the trail of clues that she hopes will reveal the truth about her mother's death, she discovers reserves of strength and determination that she didn't know she had. I was relieved that she also gradually discovered when to reach out for help from friends, family and finally, the police! I'd recommend this book for confident readers who enjoy a well-woven mystery, packed with peril.

  13. Edie is still grieving for her mother, killed a year earlier in a horrible accident, when she discovers a secret note her mother left for her. It states that the ‘accident’ was anything but, and that this is the first in a trail of clues she has left for her daughter, explaining what it was she was investigating, and why it got her killed. The tension heightens as Edie solves the clues, putting herself in more and more danger. The people who arranged her mother’s murder are utterly ruthless while Edie has very few she can turn to for help. Anthony Kessel handles plot and character well and this DIY detective story will appeal to fans of Holly Jackson and Sophie McKenzie.

    Read what other LoveReading reviewers thought of The Five Clues here

  14. I absolutely loved this book, and the reason why is that it had a rich storyline. I loved how each character was unique and amazing. I rated the book five stars because I enjoyed the book and would read it again.

  15. I like that there were different clues and the way the clues linked to each other was very clever. I could relate to the story because there was real places mentioned, it felt like I could really be there.  I really liked Edie as she reminded me of myself and it was exciting to follow the decisions she made.

    The map in the front was good to keep referring to so I could see where Edie was going next. This book has made me very excited to read book two when it comes out.

  16. "The first novel in the Don't Doubt the Rainbow series for young adults age eleven and up, The Five Clues is a suspenseful novel of intrigue about Edie Marble, a thirteen-year-old girl who stumbles across clues left by her deceased mother. Edie learns that a corporation accused of human rights violations had made death threats against her mother, and follows a trail of evidence pointing toward a conspiracy to create a lethal virus. Edie soon realizes that only by learning to change her way of thinking can she remain calm, find her center, and uncover the frightening truth. The Five Clues is a timely and welcome addition to school and public library YA Mystery/Suspense collections, highly recommended."

    Read the review on the Midwest Book Review website here.

  17. I like mysteries and this book was interesting to read. I will read next book, when my mum buys it.

  18. JessT read it to AJT aged 11 & JET aged 8, for

    We thought this book was interesting and clever within a potential upsetting setting. The story cleverly weaves together the five clues she has to solve with her everyday life and the memories that help her solve them. 

    Edie is a griefing teenager who lost her mum about a year ago in an ‘accident’ but when she finds a clue written by her mum from before the accident she realises that her death maybe a different story. Her mum was a human rights activist and she wants Edie to bring down the people she was investigating.

    Edie’s brother, Eli, and her dad, a GP, are both griefing in their own way too.

    Lizzie is Edie’s best friend who is very patient with her despite tie up and down emotions of Edie. She helps Edie on a number of occasions.
    Running along side Edie’s investigation we learn about Zero and Peter giving all the characters positive and flawed sides. 

    This is a book of courage, love, friendship, trust and a determination to get the truth. A quickly paced book that leaves you wanting to read on. 

  19. A fascinating exploration of grief, I found this a very interesting read, but a bit technical in places for the intended age group. I liked the North London setting, as I lived in North London for a while, many years ago, so it was like revisiting old friends! Always good to see a guinea pig represented in a book, too. Edie was a good lead, determined and resourceful. I look forward to reading the next in the series.

  20. This is my new favourite book and I will be recommending it to all my friends. It is an exciting read and kept me gripped throughout trying to work out the clues as I went along. I can’t wait for the next one.  Thanks for the notebook too! 

  21. , age 9, for

    I found this book full of cliff hangers and exciting twists. I especially liked the part where she first opened the letter her mum gave her. I found the creation part confusing, but apart from that this book is great!

  22. , for

    A year after the tragic death of her mother Edie discovers something which could change everything. 

    Setting out on a hunt to uncover the truth through clues that her mother has left hidden only for her. Will Edie be able to uncover the truth about her mothers death or will it prove too dangerous?   

    This is such a gripping story - filled with adventure but also the reality of grief and loss. How it effects each of us in different ways and the importance of a friend and family who will stand by you no matter what. 

    Edie is taken on a journey of self discovery as she investigates the truth - and at the end of it all is a realisation that makes her and her family stronger. 

    This book was one I found hard to put down - I was always looking for that extra 5 minutes to read just a little bit more.

    I would highly recommend this book to readers age 11+. 

    Trigger warnings: loss of family, murder, war. 

  23. , for

    What a brilliant read. 

    Edie’s Mum had tragically died a year before and everyone in the family was struggling coming to terms with such a devastating loss. Edie continued to have nightmares about her Mum’s death until one day, during the stone setting, a rite of passage in the Jewish faith, which takes place a year after somebody’s death. Edie finds a mysterious note pointing to her Mum’s death and the fact it was murder not an accident like first thought but the note was written by her Mum.

    Edie is given 5 clues that will lead her to her Mum’s killer; along with help from friends and family can she solve the crime before it gets too dangerous or before it is too late! 

  24. A captivating read, I couldn't put it down.

    Very good book- really interesting and captivating. I couldn't put it down, a very good read. Loved the characters and the themes of family and murder. As someone who appreciates murder and family books this was really useful for me.

  25. By the end of this most modern of detective tales, protagonist Edie Marble is described as a Nancy Drew or a young Sherlock; in fact Anthony Kessel has established her as a unique super sleuth in her own right. Edie uncovers global threats, solves cryptic clues and pursues the most personal of quests: what happened to her dead mother? The clearly defined North London setting adds huge authenticity to a story with a profound backdrop. Can psychology help a teenager seemingly out of her depth in a world of corporate corruption?

    Edie’s story is for older readers as her problem-solving brings her directly into conflict with hard-edged danger, creating a very original tone ranging from the delight of solving clues to the horror of the situation they reveal. It’s a family story too with a beautiful sense of hope and unity after shocking bereavement.

    Enjoy the rapid action of Edie Marble’s journey as a new fictional detective has been born!

  26. Mum had been dead for a year.  Edie, withdrawn, struggles to sleep, suffering nightmares regularly. Her younger brother Eli closes his eyes and runs up the flight of stairs to avoid seeing the family photographs. Their dad turns to drink and turns up the volume on the television so his children do not hear him crying. Edie is therefore bewildered when she finds a note from mum in her jacket. Mum’s death was not accidental. It was murder.

    The Five Clues is a tense murder mystery. Edie’s Mum, a successful human rights lawyer, fearful of her death, left a trail of five clues. Edie finds the first clue, but must work out the answer to reveal where she can find the next clue and so on, undercovering as she goes, her mum’s final case: a corporate human rights abuse in Vietnam by a UK medical research company. Despite her mum’s death, Edie seems unconcerned about her own safety and naively makes herself a person of interest, hunted by a man with a facial scar. Obsessed at first with solving the clues, Edie alienates and isolates herself further from her best friend and family, before realising this is something she must do with the help of others.

    The five clues are a great device, creating tension as it takes time for Edie to work out each one. Each one is linked to memories of her mum. Edie also takes the initiative to conduct further research, willing to take risks to gain access to possible witnesses under false pretences and break-in to a CCTV control room. Unbeknown to Edie, the stakes are high, and an ex-SAS hitman is on the payroll to do a company’s dirty work of discouraging Edie’s pursuit of justice.  There is also the potential of a global public health threat, which Edie is exposed to.

    The story is a thrilling David versus Goliath battle, threatening to engulf Edie and her family, and like her mum, one that will silence her forever. It is only her tenacity and courage that keeps her fighting to uncover the truth and allow her to confront her pain and sorrow.

  27. The premise of the book is that Edie Franklin is solving the mystery of what happened to her mother, though it becomes a mystery within a mystery. The author utilizes SEL strategies to help the protagonists deal with the death of their mother, and I really liked how this was woven in. As a parent myself I felt very emotional at the children's realistic portrayal of grief. I also felt that the descriptions of violence were sometimes too graphic for a middle grade novel.

    This would be a great selection for fans of mysteries, especially Nancy Drew, who are looking for a spunky young detective character for the current era. I think Edie fits the bill!

    Thanks to NetGalley for the gifted e-arc in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book! 

  28. A year after the tragic death of her mother, Edie discovers something which could change everything.

    Setting out on a hunt to uncover the truth through clues that her mother has left hidden only for her, will Edie be able to uncover the truth about her mother’s death or will it prove too dangerous?

    This is such a gripping story – filled with adventure but also the reality of grief and loss. How it affects each of us in different ways and the importance of a friend and family who will stand by you no matter what.

    Edie is taken on a journey of self-discovery as she investigates the truth – and at the end of it all is a realisation that makes her and her family stronger.

    This book was one I found hard to put down – I was always looking for that extra five minutes to read just a little bit more.

    I would highly recommend this book to readers aged 11+.


    Trigger warnings: loss of family, murder.

  29. A stone-setting at Edgwarebury Cemetery is the start of a dangerous mission for Edie, in The Five Clues by Anthony Kessel. Dotted with North London landmarks, this page-turning thriller incorporates puzzles that enlist the reader as co-detective. To stretch the brain further, Kessel offers an extra, psychological/spiritual dimension.

    Nina Tara’s striking cover design is the perfect complement to the mystery.

  30. I didn’t start off enjoying this as I didn’t get off to a great start with the main character. But as I continued to read I couldn’t put it down! As the clues start to unfold it becomes addictive. I like how the characters grow through the book and the bond that reforms between them through a traumatic time. I really enjoyed this book by the end and cannot wait to read more in this series.

  31. The Five Clues is a really fun middle grade mystery novel.

    The characters are lovable from the start. If mystery adventure novels are your thing you will definitely love this book.

    I am looking forward to reading more in this series.
  32. This book was a real mystery that makes you really think, it is great for kids age 10 plus.

    I really liked this book, it is a mystery and it really gets your brain working to try and work out the clues when you put yourself in Edie's shoes. I thought Edie was really brave. It is a bit complicated at points and slightly scary near the end but a really good book and you wanted to keep reading to find out what happens. I would recommend it for children age 10 plus.

  33. Love solving clues? Prepare to be drawn in by reading this detective story - will Edie collect the evidence she needs to prove who killed her mum, or will the killer catch her first?

    I liked this detective story. From the moment Edie finds a clue at the stone setting after her mum’s death I was captivated. I wanted to know what the next clue would be and if Edie would gather the evidence she needed or if she would survive! Each clue was really challenging. I’m not sure I’d be able to solve any of them by myself but Edie works them out. And that is with a whole load of bad guys trying to stop her! My favourite character was Edie’s Dad. He was very believable as a Dad! I’d recommend this book for 11+

  34. I would recommend this book to older children as it can be a bit scary, but it is incredibly exciting, and I just couldn’t put it down.

    The Five Clues is a fantastic book about a girl called Edie who lives a normal life in London until her mum suddenly dies at Finsbury Park tube station. Her world is turned upside down after finding a note at her mother’s stone setting. Shockingly she finds out that mum’s death was a successful murder and that she had been investigating some illegal activity. Edie has been given a clue to find out about her murder. I wonder how many lives will be lost. Who murdered her mother and why? The author has given 5 cryptic clues that are hidden in the book, helping me work out who the murderer is. It is an absolutely brilliant book, that grips you all the way through and I can’t wait for the new Outside Chance book to come out. I would recommend this book to older children as it can be a bit scary, but it is incredibly exciting, and I just couldn’t put it down.

  35. A compelling and captivating story about sadness, loss, acceptance, endurance, thriller, and empathy.

    By solving cleverly devised puzzles left by her late beloved mother, Edie together with the help from her best friend, sibling, and father, unearths the shocking truth of her mum's untimely demise. Despite getting into many dangerous and horrendous situations on her mission to bring justice to the murderers, Edie remains undeterred by their actions and continues to investigate. Along the way she learns a lot about the dark evil secrets of those involved; the greed and the lengths people go, to become wealthy. 

    Edie adored her mother's perceptions on life and enjoyed spending every available opportunity with her, listening to her and cherishing every moment. So losing her a year ago turned her whole world upside down in the blink of an eyelid. The after-effects left Edie distanced from her surroundings and it affected every aspect of her life. She was unable to focus at school, and home life was tense as her brother and father were also coping in their own ways by compressing their feelings and not talking about them with one another. 

    Through the whole ordeal, Edie discovers her inner strengths and recalls all of the long-forgotten teachings about life that her mother taught her, and as past memories surface, she finds guidance and solace in succeeding in her mission. The revelations of betrayal and deception by those close to home make her detective mind inquisitive. Every waking moment revolves around resolving the mystery and conspiracies she learns of, one after the other. The culprits disguised as good doers of society soon become threatened by her and want to eliminate her too.

    A superbly devised plot in which the author mirrors the current unprecedented events, which we are facing today. It is a compelling and captivating story about sadness, loss, acceptance, endurance, thriller, and empathy. The toxic and despicable behaviour of individuals she encounters in her everyday life leads to Edie becoming sceptical of everyone’s interior motives. She uses her quick-witted ability to combat her way out of complex situations that she often finds herself getting into. The brave young sleuth finds healing in her path of heartache which makes her a stronger person mentally and one that bonds her closer with the people remaining in her life.

    As the overwhelming evidence finally takes its toll on Edie and she reaches breaking point, that is when she learns of the importance of communication and that it is okay to ask for help and not bottle up her thoughts and emotions. A lot of very mind-nurturing psychological facts can be found which the author has superbly interpreted within the story. Edie's fearless and masterful approach towards solving the crime is rewarded as she finds a purpose to use her intellectual detective skills to help others too. I'm excited to read the next book, Outside Chance from this series Don't Doubt the Rainbow.

  36. This is a great book full of adventure and and friendship and puzzles to solve. I loved it!

    The first thing I noticed about this book was the cover. It just looks so intriguing. It made me want to read all the little words all over it and made me very interested to find out what was going on inside.

    This story is about a girl my age who has very sadly lost her mum to an apparent accident or suicide and it deals briefly with the thoughts and feelings around this. Her dad is a GP who is also struggling terribly with depression and loneliness.
    A year after her mum's death Edie and the family go to a Stone Ceremony as they are Jewish, and she wears a coat she has not worn since her mother’s death. I’m her pocket she finds a note written to her, from her mother. From this note Eddie starts the trail of the five clues to discover what story her mum was on to and also what actually happened to her.
    There are some really nasty characters in this book, but also some fabulous ones. Also, part of what happens in the story is a bit of a reflection on what is happening in the world right now.
    I loved the character of Edie, it’s great to see a crime fighting girl, even if most of what she achieves is completely unrealistic, because it’s a story and stories can do anything they like.
    This is quite obviously the start of a series of books and I think they will do well. I know I will certainly be looking out for book two!

  37. A very different detective mystery book.

    Don’t Doubt the Rainbow is about 13year old Edie Marble. A year before the book starts, her mother dies. Edie finds a letter from her mother, full of clues and mystery to help her work out what really happened to her. It is quite a dark and sad book at times, especially with Edie still coming to terms with the loss of her mother. But it is also exciting and different from what I usually read. I think I would like to read the next book in the series

  38. The Five Clues is a page turning mystery which immerses the reader in the world of ethics and science. Edie is secretly left a set of clues by her activist mother in the event of (what turns out to be) her suspicious death. She uses her natural intelligence and her close relationship with her mother to understand and solve the cryptic conundrums her mum set enabling her to understand the questionable work of an international pharmaceutical business.

    Edie turns to her family and friends for help as the mystery deepens and solving it leads to increasing danger. Edie Marble is a strong character who drives the fast pace of this thriller but she is also grieving the sudden death of a parent and the family's forced return from abroad.

    This book, written by a doctor, uses his knowledge of the Three Principles; a framework with which to understand how the mind works. Professor Anthony Kessel interweaves these concepts to help support Edie's psychological wellbeing as she grieves the loss of her mother and copes with the stress of the deadly investigation.

    The Five Clues was written before the Covid-19 pandemic but offers an compelling narrative where a virus threatens the wellbeing of the human race. It is the first in a series of four middle grade detective stories and I highly recommend it to secondary school students who enjoy a book combining courage and conspiracy!

    This book contains issues that may trigger readers: bereavement, threat

    For more, click here

  39. In The Five Clues, Edie finds a note, left by her Mum to her, which leads Edie to question her Mum's death. It's the first of five clues her Mother has left her to solve in order to find out why she died, but the quest is fraught with danger for Edie.  

    The cover of the book is reminiscent of blackout poetry, I was 'hooked' from that alone. The inside cover has a map of the area, which is always great to visualize the scene as it unfolded. It doesn't disappoint, a slightly slow start turns into a non-stop page-turner of the best kind. Edie is a smart yet vulnerable character, it was easy to relate to her family situation, grieving and trying to find a way to keep going.

    The book touches on understanding mental health, science, human rights, and ethics, but is gauged at the right level for the reader's understanding. I would recommend this book for everyone over 11 years, adults as well, it left me feeling positive and uplifted, and I'm looking forward to the next adventure with Edie!

    For more click here.

  40. This book has an interesting cover - it feels like something that needs to be studied and then solved. Indeed, the storyline is very different to most of the regular mystery and detective books. It is in some ways dark, yet engaging. The story of Edie is sad, but it is also one that needs to be solved. A good book, recommended!


    Read this review and more on the Toppsta website here

  41. This book is an interesting mystery, it was very hard to get into the story but once i read the first few chapters I couldn’t stop reading until before i knew it I’d read the whole book! I cant wait to read the next book. 


    Read this review and more on the Toppsta website here

  42. This was a brilliant book. I really enjoyed this different way of reading a book and following a story. I took my time reading it so I could solve the clues as I read through the story and learnt about what had happened to Edie's mum. Some of the language was a little technical for me at times, but my mum and dad helped me understand the bits I was struggling with. 

    It's a really engaging story and I look forward to reading more in the series.


    Read this review and more on the Toppsta website here

  43. I loved reading this book. The cover intrigued me with the quotes from the book, leaving me wondering what was going to happen. It was a thrilling read, learning what happened to Edie's mother and trying to solve the clues by myself. I would recommend this to anyone who loves adventure books.


    Read this review and more on the Toppsta website here

  44. The Five Clues follows thirteen-year-old Edie Franklin who discovers a clue left behind specifically for her by her activist mother on the first anniversary of her death. The clues lead Edie to discover that her mother’s death was not an unfortunate accident as everyone had thought. We join her as she attempts to solve the mystery with the help of her friends and family while meeting new people along the way and learning to process her grief.

    The novel deals with topics such as the loss of a parent, coping with grief, and the harm major pharmaceutical companies can cause under the control of corrupt money obsessed CEOs. We get to experience the perspectives of non-heroes in the story which stand in compelling contrast to Edie’s point of view.

    It should be noted however that discussion of viral diseases and pandemics are rather central to the plot and at times this feels eerily similar to the real world, thus if a reader wishes to use fiction as an escape from reality, this may not be a be the best option. The ending perfectly sets up the series for continuation and will surely have readers anticipating the next book. Overall, the story is fast paced and dramatic, with constant twists and turns as Edie attempts to solve each clue and complete the investigation her mother started, drawing the reader in and capturing their attention for all seventeen chapters.

  45. In Edie, Anthony has established a unique character full of adventure, charm, courage, insight, and potential. Her capacity to self-reflect on her own psychological workings and apply those to gaining perspective and clarity about her own challenges will no doubt serve as a rich source of inspiration, curiosity and learning for countless young people throughout this excellent series.

  46. "A great and heartbreaking story. It's a murder-mystery, but at it's core this book is about family – about the relationship between a mother and her daughter. I can't wait for the second part in this great series!" 

    4 stars out of 5

  47. The Five Clues is a modern thriller full of intriguing characters. The story is full of tension, and it is absorbing to be part of Edie’s discoveries. Zero, the man sent to stop Edie, is a captivating character – and his development throughout the book is interesting. Due to the nature of some of the war scenarios that Zero recalls, I believe this book would be suitable for Key Stages 3–4 [ages 12–16].

  48. Edie Marble is a heroine for our times – curious, determined, and willing to break the rules in service of a worthy cause. Throw in a global conspiracy and some fundamental truths about life and you’ve got a page-turning mystery that just might change your own life!

  49. It’s not often that a book well and truly stops me in my tracks – in a good way – and then I end up thinking about it at night, in the morning and when I’m supposed to be cooking dinner.

    The book is mesmerising from start to finish and a pacey page-turner. The story has every great element of a gripping murder mystery, with a range of rounded and deep characters, and explores the many faces of grief as well as what it means to be family or a friend.

    I would recommend The Five Clues for readers aged 14+ (just because there are a few quite graphic moments and some fruity language), but nonetheless it is one of the most enjoyable murder mysteries I have ever read. I look forward to the next instalment in the series with anticipation, as this first book is beautifully written and well executed.

  50. The Five Clues is an enjoyable read. A rich and meaty book, it is also pacey and engaging – and can be enjoyed as an adult too. Without being ‘preachy’, it also has some solid messages from which all might benefit in these Covid times. A great read at any time, with summer offering a perfect opportunity. Well done, Prof Kessel!

  51. The Five Clues is a compelling, page-turning mystery centred around Edie Marble’s pursuit of the truth behind the death of her mother.

    In uncovering the secrets and lies surrounding her mother’s death, Edie exposes the corrupt underbelly of society and discovers the deep mysteries of her own grieving mind.

    Written with professional insight into well-being and the mental health impacts of grief, this is a murder mystery to open hearts and minds.

    Brimming with emotional intelligence and determination to fight injustice, Edie Marble is the lie-busting heroine we need now more than ever!

  52. The Five Clues is cool in many ways. It has an Alex Rider approach to crime-fighting in that it is non-stop action. Like Anthony Horowitz’s teen crime-fighter, London-based Edie is working through her grief over the loss of her mother and couldn’t do it without the help of a very good friend.

    Unlike Alex Rider, however, Edie has a tight-knit family – including a loving father and younger brother. It is this love that will determine whether or not Edie is successful in her quest. I love the music references that Edie and her parents shared and I know that this book will appeal to the teens of music-loving parents.

    What I enjoyed most about the novel was Edie’s Judaism and the descriptions of Jewish grief rituals such as the stone-setting service. Being half-Jewish myself, I’m very familiar with Jewish funerals and graveside rituals and it felt great to see that represented in a YA novel.

    What Kessel does best in The Five Clues is to write complex and detailed villains, especially in Zero, the trained assassin central to the story. It is rare to really get to the heart of a villain’s motives and raison d’etre, especially in a young YA novel such as this.

  53. I enjoyed this book. It is well written with good character development, relatable characters and relatable moments that dealt with very raw emotions in a beautiful way. I read it quickly and could not put the book down. I would definitely recommend it.

  54. This teen mystery is full of adventure and action. I love how the story evolves around the five different clues and how Edie and the people around her gradually work together to solve the mystery. The story keeps you guessing and I couldn’t put it down at all. I cannot wait for book 2!

  55. The Five Clues is a brilliant book which covers topics such as truth, integrity, commercial greed and exploitation in an easy-to-understand way for young people.

    I really enjoyed the story, reading it in one day, and will be recommending it to the pupils in my school.

  56. Brilliantly written and unputdownable, The Five Clues is a great read which illustrates the virtue of resilience and the psychological teachings of the Three Principles through a gripping story.

    Set against a backdrop of adversity and anxieties, Edie Marble navigates her way through a complex world. She faces up to challenges with an ineffable quality – and, rather than letting the situation overcome her, she finds ways to rise up and better herself.

    I loved the story, characters and concepts, and I know that my 13-year-old son will love Edie’s strong character and dedication to a cause. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

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