Maddie Hatter and the Deadly Diamond
Author: Jayne Barnard
Maddie Hatter and the Deadly Diamond, is a steampunk fantasy that I can’t help but think was just a cute book. With some hidden Easter egg character names, that I’m embarrassed took me so long to catch, to the Clue-esque style murder mystery, there was a lot to keep my imagination whirring as I read this novel penned by Jayne Barnard.
Intrepid journalist, Maddie Hatter, is determined that she will break free from the fashionista column’s she writes for the Kettle Conglomerate newspapers. As the runaway daughter of a powerful Steamlord, Maddie has been able to eke out a meagre living writing her columns, which is good because she wants to avoid spending the allowance provided to her by her father, that comes with a long list a rules. While spending time in Egypt where she reports on the fashion of the English well-to-do wintering in the desert climate, Maddie has the chance to to break into a real investigation. While hunting for the fabled Eye of Africa diamond, Baron Bodmin, renowned explorer and adventurer, vanishes and soon turns up murdered. Risking her career and her father's wrath, Maddie delves deep into the investigation for the byline of a lifetime.
While the idea behind steampunk is fascinating to me, I haven’t read any steampunk novels yet that I’ve been enthralled with. Although I haven’t hated any of them, I also haven’t had the drive to read the story. You know the drive I'm talking about, the one where nothing else matters until you finish the story. So far I haven’t experienced that with steampunk. I’m not sure why that is, likely I just haven't stumbled upon the right story yet. Maddie Hatter and the Deadly Diamond is probably the closest I’ve come to actually enjoying a steampunk novel instead of just saying, well that was ok. I liked the Maddie character, she seemed like someone who you could be friends with, down to earth, despite her affluent upbringing. I found that she was an enjoyable character to follow along with as she solves Baron Bodmin’s murder.
Don’t read this novel as an e-book, get the paperback version. The formatting of the e-book was terrible. With double spacing, and overly large margins, it was very awkward to read and the flow that you would normally have while reading a book just wasn’t there. I have seen the paperback version, and the formatting in that looks to be normal though and I suspect a lot easier to read. What I did really enjoy while reading this novel were the few illustrations in the book of some of the steampunk contraptions. The Brass Monkey, which is a gadget designed as a way to read the news, being my favourite.
If you like steampunk murder mysteries, where the lead-character is a plunky go-getter who is determined to make a success of her life and not depend on her daddy’s money, read this book, just read it on paper.