By Emma Kennedy
Published by MacMillan
ISBN 978 0 330 46952 4
She may be small and only 10 years old, but don't be deceived by appearances: Wilma Tenderfoot is a very determined young lady who knows how to get things done.
From the moment she was abandoned on the doorstep of the Lowland Institute for Woeful Children, Wilma had one dream. Totally besotted by the exploits of Theodore P. Goodman, Cooper Island's most famous detective, Wilma's life goal is to meet and impress her hero. In particular, she studies and learns Goodman's top tips on how to be a successful detective. Determination is Wilma's middle name. And, as she sets out to prove, determination makes dreams come true.
Owing to a series of complicated events after she is thrown out of Lowland Institute, Wilma finds herself taken on as Goodman's apprentice and she resolves to become the best apprentice ever. After all, she has been given the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to be mentored by the great Goodman. With her natural talent for detection and her determination, how can she fail?
Wilma is just settling into her role when an intriguing case presents itself almost by accident.
One evening, Theodore takes Wilma to a variety show whose artistes include knife thrower Great Sylvester; Sabbatica, the world's greatest mind-reader; and the star of the show, Cicely Lovely, the most famous and beautiful diva on Cooper Island. Wilma is excited - and she certainly does not expect the evening to end in the dramatic way it does.
The lights dim and the show begins. Sabbatica comes onto the stage, shrouded in black, mist swirling around her. Suddenly she stumbles, and with a desperate grasp at her throat, falls dead.
Theodore and his apprentice are, of course, immediately on the case. There is no doubt the mind reader has been poisoned and that a murderer is at work.
As, one by one, the other show performers are fatally poisoned, Wilma's powers of detection are stretched to the limit. Can she unmask the murderer before the final curtain falls?
Wilma Tenderfoot and the Case of the Putrid Poison is a comic romp filled with over-the-top funny characters, witty writing and ridiculous situations. Wilma's creator, Emma Kennedy, is an actress who has appeared in many television comedy shows in Britain, and she certainly hits the funny bone with the Wilma Tenderfoot series.
If you doubt there's a funny side to crime, you'll reconsider when you read about Wilma tracking down hapless criminals. They don't stand a chance when Cooper Island's best apprentice detective is hot on their trails.