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Archive of ‘Sinclair’s Mysteries’ category

Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month!



I’m so thrilled and delighted that The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is the Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month for June 2015!

I am a huge fan of Waterstones. I  vividly remember my frenzied excitement about getting to go to the big Waterstones shop in Preston when I was a child; and my first real job was working on Saturdays at Waterstones Lancaster when I was in the sixth form at school.

To this day, there is little I enjoy more than a rummage round flagship store Waterstones Piccadilly, where I can easily spend far too much money. It’s so important that we have such a fantastic high street bookseller, and I couldn’t be prouder that The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow has been chosen to be a Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month, and will now be available in Waterstones stores up and down the land!

I have already been absolutely blown away by the enthusiasm of Waterstones booksellers for the book. I’ve been posting pictures of their amazing Clockwork Sparrow themed displays and windows on social media like crazy – and have now started gathering them together on a special Pinterest board (if you see one, please do snap a picture and send it to me!)

Here’s just a few of the many incredible displays so far:

It was particularly special to see this amazing window display at Waterstones Piccadilly this week, complete with a plate of bon-bons and of course a gorgeous jewelled sparrow as a centrepiece.

As a few keen-eyed readers have already spotted, Sinclair’s Department Store is located on Piccadilly, and although it’s a very different building, I’ve imagined it roughly in the spot as Waterstones Piccadilly (which itself was once the home of a famous former London department store, Simpson’s).

This makes it all the lovelier to see such a beautiful Sinclair’s style display in the windows of Waterstones Piccadilly.

Here’s the display in progress, created by the super talented @annieopalfruit …


And the finished splendour… IMG_4201 All the lovely details, courtesy of @lauramainellen

Check out the Pinterest board for lots more lovely pictures.

Thank you so much Waterstones – June is going to be a truly fantastic month!

UPDATED: Check out some more truly incredible Clockwork Sparrow creations – this times from super-talented Waterstones bookseller (and Bookseller Rising Star) @Leilah_Makes for Waterstones Doncaster!

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow: Video Blog Tour

2.-How-did-London-inspire-The-Mystery-of-the-Clockwork-Sparrow-1024x576To celebrate the publication of The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow this week, some of my favourite children’s book bloggers took part in a Clockwork Sparrow video blog tour!

Each day of the tour featured a new video with me talking a bit about the book.

I loved all the amazing content created by the bloggers – like the Clockwork Sparrow craft project  on Playing by the Book or George Lester’s fab video review.

I thought I’d post a quick round-up of the videos and links to all the blog posts here.

Thanks so much to all the fantastic bloggers who took part!

Day 1: Tales of Yesterday

The first stop on the blog tour! What inspired The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow?

Day 2: Library Mice

How did mystery stories help inspire The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow?

Day 3:  YA Yeah Yeah

Talking about the department store setting for the book…

Day 4: The Overflowing Library

Kirsty also wrote a fab review of The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow here!

[Oops – looks like this video is missing!]

Day 5: Middle Grade Strikes Back

Bringing the Edwardian department store to life…

6. Winged Reviews

Talking about some of the similarities between Sophie and Lil’s London and the modern day.

Day 7: Snuggling on the Sofa

Researching department stores!

Day 8: YA Shot

Finding out about Edwardian crime!

Day 9: Waterstones blog

The special announcement that The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month for June!

Day 10: Playing by the Book

Talking about main character Sophie – plus a fantastic Clockwork Sparrow inspired craft project!

Day 11: George Lester Reads

Talking about the characters – plus  a video review from George!

Day 12: LaChouett

Find out more about the Baron (plus enter a giveaway to win a copy of the book!)

UPDATED: The lovely LaChouett also did this great interview in which I chatted to her about favourite mystery stories, the allure of red shoes,  the most fun Clockwork Sparrow character to write about, and much more…

Happy Book Birthday Clockwork Sparrow!


The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow officially publishes… TODAY!

I had such a wonderful time celebrating the launch of the book at Daunts Books on Marylebone High Street earlier this week!

Hats a-go-go with Melissa, Katie and Louise at the Clockwork Sparrow launch

Hats a-go-go with Melissa, Katie and Louise at the Clockwork Sparrow launch


Lots of Clockwork Sparrows in the Daunt Books window!

Beautiful Edwardian bookshop Daunts was the perfect setting for our Clockwork Sparrow celebration. Everyone was instructed to come along in their finiest millinery for the occasion, and family and colleagues all helped out with everything from hat creation to cake-baking to make the evening extra special.

We had a sumptuous spread of afternoon tea-style refreshments – dainty finger sandwiches made by my Book Trust colleagues and a veritable feast of cakes including gorgeous Clockwork Sparrow cupcakes courtesy of my editor Hannah, delicious tea loaf made by my husband Duncan, and an amazing gin and tonic cake baked my publicist Maggie. My agent Louise had even created little ‘Sinclair’s’ paper bags stuffed with sweets!

Just look at these gorgeous cakes featuring Julia Sarda’s awesome artwork

Of course, we also had to have appropriate headgear to wear. Ahead of the event, my mum had decorated a whole host of amazing Edwardian-style hats, and together, my mum, dad and I customised an old suitcase to become a Sinclair’s trunk, stuffed with beautiful millinery.

hatbox_closed hatbox

Everyone enjoyed getting in on the action and trying on a hat (or several) over the course of the evening. Look at all these lovely folk:


Lots of lovely #ClockworkSparrow launch details courtesy of @ninacd A photo posted by Katherine Woodfine (@followtheyellow) on


My friend Rosi even brought along this amazing Sinclair’s themed gift!


It was such fun to have so many people come along to raise a glass to Clockwork Sparrow – what a truly amazing celebration.

Many thanks to everyone for all your help to give my first book such a splendid welcome – and happy book birthday to Clockwork Sparrow!

A Clockwork Sparrow Afternoon Tea


To celebrate The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow‘s publication on 4 June, we headed to Harrods this week, for a lovely afternoon tea at the Georgian Restaurant.

It really was the perfect place to celebrate the book – from the piano music to the silver teapots, we could almost have been in the restaurant of Sinclair’s Department Store itself!

The tea was perfect – dainty finger sandwiches, delicious cakes, perfect scones, rose petal jam and even a trifle in a jam jar to finish with.

Afternoon tea features heavily in Book 2, the sequel to Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow, which I’ve been busy writing recently – what better way to do research for a book than tucking into these delights?

Here’s me and my lovely publicist Maggie, who organised the afternoon tea (and is kind of hiding behind the giant cake stand!)


Thanks Maggie and Egmont for a truly delightful Clockwork Sparrow celebration!

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow: Cover Reveal!

This week my publishers Egmont revealed the final cover for The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow in all its glory!

Are you ready? Here it is!


I’m so delighted with how beautifully the cover has turned out. I love the concept of the sillhouetted figures behind the windows, and the rich blue and yellow colour scheme looks so sumptuous. The gorgeous gold foil really is the perfect finishing touch.

The cover artwork is by Júlia Sardà – I’ve written before about how much I love her work. Just wait until you see the lovely interior illustrations too! You can check out more of Júlia’s work on her website here.

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is also now available to pre-order online! Order it from Waterstones, Hive or Amazon.