The Paranormal Puppet Show

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Cover of The Paranormal Puppet Show

Author: Justin Richards

Series: The Invisible Detective

Publisher: Pocket

Published in: 2003

Age Range: Pre Teens

Period: Various

Setting: London

Genres:  AdventureFantasyTime-Travel


  • Arthur Drake is a late 20th century schoolboy who discovers an old diary in an antiques shop.
  • Arthur Drake is a schoolboy in the 1930s who joins with a gang of street kids to form a detective agency, The Invisible Detective.
  • Meg, Jonny and Flinch are the other partners in The Invisible Detective, each with a particular talent to offer.
  • Professor Bessemer is the rather mysterious proprietor of a new waxworks exhibition, with lifelike models taking part in moving tableaux.


In the 1930s, Arthur Drake and his friends become involved with Professor Bessemer's sinister waxworks when he takes over the warehouse they use as a base. Arthur is particularly attracted by the Professor's crippled ward Liza, but the children have to turn for help when they discover that the waxworks are the basis for a plot to take over the country.


Literary: Undemanding and slightly unconvincing. The 1930s kids provide a mixture of realistic backgrounds — abusive parents, semitic bullying, the stirrings of adolescent attraction — and unrealistic acceptance of the lifelike waxworks which turn into killing machines. It's rather like seeing a sanitised Terminator appear in the middle of a Secret Seven book. The adults play the same sort of roles that their Enid Blyton counterparts play, too.

The device of a modern-day Arthur Drake discovering a diary left by his 1930s counterpart doesn't seem to lead anywhere and gives the appearance of being a device to keep you guessing at the parallels between the boys' lives.

This was their new den. None of them ever said it, or asked the others for an opinion. It just was. As soon as Flinch led them inside, they all accepted the fact. They had exchanged the broken machinery and discarded metal brackets of their former meeting place afor the dust-choked rolls of carpet and crumbling floors of a new one.

Again, they all agreed without a word that they would confine themselves to the ground floor. One look at the state of the galleries and rooms above; one step on any of the broken staircases that led up to the next level was enough tfor them. Art was proud of them for that — they were just kids after all, he had no illusion there. But they were a team, they were friends, and they were all wise enough to know their limits.

Tuesday 1st January 2002