The last time William Shakespeare and Virginia went missing Cassie found them sitting on a coiled hose behind the fire station, and Dad called her ‘Cassie Andersen, Peacock Detective’. So this time she knows what to do—she’ll look for clues and track them down. But the clues lead her in an unexpected direction and Cassie finds herself investigating a confusing mystery about her family.
Cassie Anderson is a writer. She is also a Peacock Detective. The first time her neighbour’s peacocks went missing, she was the one to find them. So when they went missing again, naturally, her neighbours sought out her help to find them again.
While doing Very Important Detective Work, Cassie also is writing a story for her Dad, who is also a writer, and he teaches English Literature at the high school portion of their local school.
Because Cassie’s Dad is a writer, she knows lots of things about writing, words, how to tell stories, and just what is needed in them to make them interesting.
Throughout the book, there are descriptions and definitions of facts about stories, and writing, and what a good story needs. Though she still doesn’t know about Themes in books (and can’t seem to find them herself), Cassie writes an incredible story, to be gifted to her dad for Christmas.
Cassie has her Notebook for Noticing on her at all times, and she writes down everything she notices. She notices that her dad has been having more of Those Days – the days where he can’t do anything except stare at a blank wall. And she notices that her Mum is different to. From stopping working at the library, to moving out entirely, Cassie has to adjust to all of these rapid life changes.
Her sister, Diana, is also changing a lot. She’s fourteen going on fifteen, and doesn’t seem to have a lot of time for Cassie, and would much rather spend her time learning about Buddhism and meditating. Cassie makes it a goal to find out exactly what Buddhism is so she can understand it, and her sister better.
And then there is her beloved Grandpa, who is suddenly hospitalised and she isn’t allowed to see him Like That, but also she wants to do is make sure that he hasn’t changed into a monster, or vampire, or any other horrible thing that her brain has conjured up.
This book is rather sweet, but it definitely pulled on my heartstrings. I felt for Cassie, who is eleven going on twelve, being told that she’s too young to understand what is going on with the adults in her life, and why she is being kept in the dark.
Cassie notices a lot of things going on with a lot of people. Cassie’s plate is rather full with things – from her friend Jonas, to her enemy Rhea, and continually searching for the peacocks. She finds herself navigating life as an eleven year old kept in the dark from Adult Things, and just what it means to be a writer.
This story was poignant, and had me wishing I could reach into the book and give Cassie a massive hug and give her some much deserved love.
Because this is a middle grade story, I think those around the 10 and 11 year age mark will really benefit from it. There are lots of definitions for words in here, some that reminded me exactly what they were, too, and it will probably be very relatable to other children whose parents may have split up, or maybe have a grandparent who has needed to go into hospital for a long period of time.
Even if you are an adult, like me, I still recommend this completely heart-warming book.