Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Spiritglass Charade

The Spiritglass Charade

Colleen Gleason
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Chronicle, 2014   ISBN: 978-1452110714

A month has passed since Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes solved a case for Princess Alix, the wife of the Prince of Wales. Mina is eager to start working on another case and is pleased when she and Evaline are summoned to Miss Irene Adler’s office at the British Museum. Irene, the girls, and their friend Dylan (a reluctant time traveler from 2016) visit Princess Alix in Marlborough House and find out that the Princess wants them to help a friend of hers, Willa Ashton. Willa’s mother died not long ago, and then her young brother disappeared. Apparently Willa is convinced that her dead mother is trying to tell her where her brother is, and she has been hiring mediums to help her understand what her mother is trying to tell her. Princess Alix is concerned that Willa is allowing herself to be hoodwinked and manipulated by the mediums whom she is employing, and she wants Evaline and Mina to help the young woman.

   Neither of the girls are terribly interested in the case. Evaline would rather be stalking vampires, and the case does not seem challenging enough for Mina, who loves to use the investigative methods made famous by her uncle, Sherlock Holmes. However, the girls cannot decline to help Princess Alix, so they visit Willa and in spite of themselves they are intrigued by the case.

   When Willa’s newest medium is murdered, it becomes clear that something very suspicious is going on. Mina begins to believe that someone is trying to drive Willa to the brink of insanity. The young woman is very wealthy and if one of the people who might inherit her wealth can prove that she is crazy, they could get their hands on a sizeable fortune. The problem is that Mina isn’t sure who could be behind such a plot.

   As the girls dig around, Evaline – who lives to fulfill her destiny to kill vampires – discovers that vampires, and humans who are in their devotees, are back in London. She kills her first vampire and then sets about trying to find the rest of a blood sucking creatures before they are able to turn more people into immortal monsters of the night.

   With the mysterious Pix, Dylan, and Inspector Grayling to help them, the girls stumble across two mysteries that somehow seem to be connected, though they are not sure how. What soon becomes clear is that they are up against formidable foes who think nothing of removing anyone who gets in their way.

   Set in a steampunk version of Victorian London, this remarkable second book in the Stoker and Holmes series will delight readers who like stories that combine fact and fiction. The story is so unpredictable that readers can never be sure what is going to happen next. The characters are developed further, and we begin to appreciate that though the two young women are very different, together they form an impressive team that should not be underestimated.