Dead Man's Cove is a children's mystery novel, written by Lauren St. John, and published in 2010. It is the first of the Laura Marlin series, and the author followed it up with a sequel, Kidnap in the Caribbean, in 2011. Dead Man's Cove won the Blue Peter book of the year award in 2011.
The book features Laura Marlin, an 11-year-old orphan who has lived in a children's home all her life. The book opens as she leaves for St. Ives, Cornwall to live with her uncle who has just been located by Social Services and has volunteered to take her into his home. Laura has read many detective stories and longs for the excitement she has read about to take place for her in real life. This desire is more than fulfilled as she meets her uncle, makes friends with Tariq, gets a dog of her own and ends up in great danger as she helps to solve modern-day crimes.
This is a fast-moving story with good quality descriptive writing. Rather similar to Enid Blyton in that the fast-moving plot keeps you turning the pages, but the use of the internet to source key information and the type of crimes make the story very up to date. However, the connection with home-education (see parental guidance) is unfortunate, as it gives an unnecessarily negative impression.
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- Reading Age: 10+
- Reading Aloud Age: 9+
The main character becomes an amateur sleuth, and one of her investigations leads her to a boy named Tariq, who is (supposedly) home-educated. However, Tariq's relatives home-school him in order to keep him out of the public eye and to stop people asking questions about the long hours of child labour they are forcing him to do. All's well that ends well in this particular case - the boy is rescued from his plight. But the connection with home education is unfortunate, as it gives a negative impression. This is simply not true in reality for the vast majority of home-educated children.
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- Other books by Lauren St. John. The second book in this series is Kidnap in the Caribbean, while her previous series, White Giraffe, focuses on animals living in South Africa.