WINNER OF THE 2011 BLUE PETER BOOK OF YEAR AWARD

‘What I want,’ Laura declared, ‘is to have a life packed with excitement like some of the characters in my books.’

When orphaned Laura Marlin is sent to live with her uncle in St Ives, Cornwall, she is convinced that a life of adventure is hers at last. But everywhere she turns she is confronted with mysteries.

Is Tariq, the shopkeeper’s silent son, a friend or an enemy? Why does her uncle seem intent on erasing his own past? And why is everyone so afraid of Dead Man’s Cove?

“Laura Marlin's first detective adventure set along the mysterious crags of the Cornish coastline is both exciting and swift, as well as thoughtful.”

The Bookseller Crow

“There was never a dull moment, and Lauren St John captures the eeriness and mystery of the story magnificently... In a world obsessed with vampire tales, is Lauren St John set to bring back the nation's love for a good old detective story? Judging by this book, it seems definite!”

Amy Naylor, Age 14,

“Here is a heroine I wanted to be friends with. Funny, clever and brave, she shines like a shiny thing... I loved everything about this book. The writing is excellent, the story is clever and full of twisty turns, our main character is charming and likable and the supporting cast of characters are more than just walk-ons... It is clever writing. Lauren St John is definitely - in my opinion - a master storyteller, keeping plot and pace steady, letting us run with Laura...”

Liz De Jager, My Favourite Books

“Dead Man's Cove has in many ways the feel of a traditional adventure mystery, with clear-cut villains, clues and false trails and a dramatic climax. But Laura is a thoroughly modern girl... a pleasure to read.”

The Book Bag

“I strongly believe that this is a book everyone will love. It is full of adventure and mystery. It's one of those books that you really don't want to put down and you really have to force yourself to stop reading.”

The Guardian Online

“Feisty orphan Laura Marlin is rescued from her life in a children's home by her mysterious uncle Calvin. Laura loves everything about her new life in Cornwall but soon realises that it is full of secrets. Laura's sharp observation and her passion for amateur investigation sets her on the path of some great adventures during which she discovers why her new friend suddenly no longer wants to see her, the secret world of her uncle and why she is never allowed to go to Dead Man's Cove.”

Julia Eccleshare, LOVEREADING4KIDS

“My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’m going to be terribly unprofessional here for a moment so please do humour me. THIS IS BRILLIANT. *Puts Critic hat back on* THIS IS BRILLIANT Oh, this will never do. Okay, I’ll have to do my best to restore some sort of professional overtones to this review. Laura Marlin is brilliant. Wait, it’s not improving is it. She has a three legged Siberian huskey as a sidekick. Which is brilliant. Oh, I give in. THIS BOOK IS BRILLIANT. It’s the Famous Five meets Nancy Drew. It has the wonderful Laura Marlin – bright, brilliant heroine that she is – and she’s a delight to read. It has a shady uncle. An even shadier housekeeper. And it feels like sunshine and coconut fudge and fry-ups at the seaside cafe. Just go get it. Read it. Because it’s brilliant.

DidYouEverStoptoThink Blog

“An absorbing novel that will hold the imagination of young readers and keep them guessing throughout.”

Jake Hope, The Bookseller

“Laura Marlin is a brilliant detective story written by one of the best children's writers out there, Lauren St John, who has recently won the Blue Peter award...I loved this book because it is so much better than the Famous Five books I used to read...I could not put it down! It has everything I like in books: suspense, mystery, action and adventure. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. A real cliffhanger! This is the first book by Lauren St John that I have read, and I cannot wait to start her next Laura Marlin mystery, Kidnap in the Caribbean.”

Guardian Online

“With vivid descriptions and a page-turning plot this is the perfect children's summer read, especially for those lucky enough to frequent the magical coastline of Cornwall.”

Octavia Karavia, Waterstone's Books Quarterly

“A good read.”

The School Librarian

“It has enough intrigue to keep independent readers engaged, and is a pleasure to read aloud to the under 10's, especially those just back from a seaside holiday.”

Daisy Bridgewater, Daily Telegraph Magazine

“A refreshing Cornish mystery adventure with a traditional, almost Blytonesque feel, but a thoroughly modern and tenacious heroine.”

Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

“Secret messages, dubious strangers, night-time expeditions, kidnapping and a brave dog who is the heroine's soulmate are all very Enid Blyton, but the crimes are more up to date, and the prose, with it's insights into Laura's psyche and its atmospheric descriptions of the Cornish coast, is a cut above...St John's best work of children's storytelling to date.”

Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times

“There's something so traditionally Blyton-like about the title of this book that it demands to be read - and so it should be... this simply ticks all the right boxes. The first in a warmly-awaited series.”

Sally Morris, Daily Mail

“It's gripping, hugely entertaining and has something special about it - I just can't put my finger on it. Lauren St John has written a beauty with this one! My only criticism is that it wasn't longer. I was left yearning for more!”

Ryan Woods, Empire of Books

“Mind gripping! It was different from other books and I couldn't put it down. It was all good and someone that likes twists in stories would enjoy this. The ending was really good and unexpected. The characters were believable. I would love to read other books by this author. I read a lot of mystery books and this is one of the best!”

Teen Titles

“Clear, warm-hearted storytelling...”

Amanda Craig, The Times

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