Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review: The Firebird Mystery

Book Cover: The Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt The Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt
Published May 2015 by Text Publishing Company
Source: eGalley ARC from NetGalley

Jack Mason grew up as an acrobat in a circus. After the tragic death of his parents, he was sent to live within the gloomy Sunnyside Orphanage in London, a city of fog and snow, filled with airships, steamcars, and metrotowers stretching into space.

That's until he is taken under the wing of the brilliant and eccentric detective Ignatius Doyle. But when a girl named Scarlet Bell comes seeking Mr. Doyle's help, little does Jack know how dangerous life is about to become. Scarlet's father has been kidnapped, and the future of the world itself may be at stake. Is the evil hand of Professor M pulling the strings? Mr. Doyle and Jack know there is no time to lose.

My Thoughts

The Firebird Mystery is a steampunk adventure for young readers by Darrell Pitt. As the story begins, Jack Mason is chosen to become assistant to Consulting Detective Ignacius Doyle. Not even a full day on the job, Jack and Doyle are helping Scarlet Bell track down her missing father. Along the way, they stumble into a devious Nazi plot that threatens the entire world.

There was so much that I enjoyed in The Firebird Mystery. There's the steampunk aspect: hydrogen-filled airships, steam-powered cars with ten-foot chimneys, and goggles with a magnifying switch. Unlike other steampunk books set in Victorian England, The Firebird Mystery is set just about 100 years ago just after the end of the Great War. Playing on the political tensions, author Darrell Pitt introduces a novel approach to the arms race: an organization of scientists known as the Phoenix Society has been developing new technologies but keeping them secret. As members point out, “Today's technology is medieval compared to the weaponry of the society.“

One thing that I really liked about this book are the allusions that Doyle makes to his prior cases. “...a small matter involving:

  • a diamond necklace, a plum pudding and a cat with three legs
  • a sketch by Rembrandt, a South American shrunken head an a baby elephant
  • the Mona Lisa, a seven per cent solution of cocoa and a Man with three arms
It brought to mind fond remembrances of the 1970s computer game, Leather Goddesses of Phobos.


Disclosure: I received a free copy of The Firebird Mystery from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.


  1. This sounds rather grand! I've only read one other Steampunk series, and that, like you say, is set in the Victorian era, though it's incredibly good (The Etiquette and Espionage books by Gail Carriger), but it's such an interesting theme/genre and I would love to delve into it a bit more, and by the sounds of it this is one of those books that is suited to readers of all ages: my favourite type! Lovely review. I'll be adding this to my tbr for sure! xx

    1. The Firebird Mystery is very different from Gail Carriger's books. There aren't any supernaturals (vampires, werewolves). And it's different from the Girl Genius series by Phil & Kaja Foglio. I thought this was a very well done book in a great steampunk setting. There are others in the series and I plan to hunt them down.

      Definitely suited to all but the younges -- mild violence (with murder) and nothing else.