Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Shipwreck Detective

Shipwreck Detective

Richard Platt
Illustrator:  Duncan Cameron 
Novelty Book
For ages 10 and up
DK, 2006   ISBN: 978-0756622183

Duncan teaches in an art school but in his spare time he loves to dive. He has always kept journals about his diving adventures and exploits. Each journal is illustrated and Duncan pastes photographs and other items to the pages. Duncan has just started a new journal when he hears that his Uncle Joe has died. In addition to a legacy which he left to Duncan and his sister Helle, Uncle Joe also left his niece and nephew his old sea chest full of bits and pieces collected during his diving career. At the bottom of the chest Duncan finds a letter from his uncle. In the letter Uncle Joe tells Duncan about a cache of gold which he found in one of the wrecked ships which he dived on. Duncan and his sister can have the gold if they can find it. To get Duncan started Uncle Joe leaves him a list of eleven shipwrecks and a riddle. Duncan has a few months to figure out which wreck is the hiding place of the gold.

Duncan decides that the only thing to do is to search each wreck until the treasure is found. He begins by diving on the “Vironia” in the Baltic Sea. Duncan uses Uncle Joe’s riddle to search for the gold but it would appear that the “Vironia” is not the right wreck. After this first setback Duncan realizes that he needs to approach the quest a little differently. Before he dives again Duncan does a certain amount of research about the eleven shipwrecks to see if he can gather more information about them which might help him narrow down the search a little. Carefully he plans his route and his dives and he tries to see if there is a connection between the eleven wrecks. Is there a pattern there which Duncan is missing? Is the riddle perhaps not as obvious as it seems?

Though the story of Duncan’s search is fictional this fascinating book is packed with information which any young treasure hunter will find engrossing and perhaps, one day, useful. Readers will learn about diving equipment, how shipwrecks are excavated and explored, how maps and charts are read, the history of some of the world’s most famous shipwrecks and much more.

Packed with detailed illustrations, photographs, yellow “sticky” notes, envelopes to open, diving logs, maps and so much more, this one of a kind title will entertain and inform the reader for hours.