Book Review: The Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt

Book Review: The Firebird Mystery by Darrell PittThe Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt
Series: Jack Mason Adventures #1
Also in this series: The Secret Abyss, The Broken Sun
on 26th February 2014
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback

Click here to buy the book from AmazonBooktopiaBook DepositoryAngus and Robertson
Jack Mason has grown up as an acrobat in a circus. Now, after the tragic death of his parents, he must live inside the gloomy walls of Sunnyside Orphanage in London, a city of fog and snow, filled with airships, steam cars and metrotowers that stretch into space. Luckily for Jack, he’s taken under the wing of the brilliant and eccentric detective Ignatius Doyle. Little does he know how dangerous life is about to become. A girl named Scarlet Bell comes seeking the great detective’s help. Her father has been kidnapped, and the future of the world itself may be at stake. Is the evil hand of Professor M pulling all the strings? Mr Doyle and Jack know there is no time to lose. With all its twists and turns and helter-skelter action, The Firebird Mystery is an addictive story and a spellbinding homage to the world of Victorian literature that will appeal to readers of all ages.

My Review:

What do you get when you combine a consulting detective, an orphaned young acrobat, airships, and a mystery which left unsolved might be the end of the world as we know it? You get The Firebird Mystery, the first novel in a steampunk Sherlock Holmes-esque series featuring Jack Mason.

Jack gets the chance to leave one of the most dreary places in London, Sunnyside Orphanage, to work with Ignatius Doyle – a perceptive detective who has solved some of the world’s most baffling mysteries. Jack hits the ground running – within hours of arriving at his new life, Scarlet Bell employs Mr Doyle to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance. What they find once they start investigating is baffling – and Jack will need all of his agility and acrobatic skills, lucky compass and whatever tricks Mr Doyle has in his pockets to save the world from those who are threatening it.

It’s clear from the writing that Darrell Pitt is a Sherlock Holmes fan and whatever similarities between his Mr Doyle and the famous Holmes are intentional. From the address (221B) to Doyle’s not so fond recollection of The Reichenbach Falls – it’s evident that Pitt is a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle’s hero and whilst I’m not so familiar with the classic detective, I enjoyed the references that I caught as I read this novel. This is not an imitation or a copy. Ignatius is a formidable character in his own right but the allusions to Sherlock Holmes are a nice homage.

All of the character have their own eccentricities (I love Mr Doyle’s penchant for leaving odd items around his assistant’s room as a test for observation) and are memorable in their own ways. Scarlet is a modern woman for the time and Jack is a boy strong and wise beyond his years. The plot has unexpected twists and the writing is both witty and intelligent. This is a great introduction to Jack Mason’s world. Entertaining for younger and older readers alike, The Firebird Mystery is charming, full of action and adventure with characters who are easy and fun to read.


  1. I luuurved Mr Doyle. Didn’t he just remind you of an older Johnny Depp character? His pockets filled with cheese, nailing toast above doors, I just loved him. I would have loved to see chapters told from his point of view, his inner monologue would be hilarious! Awesome review Kate.

    • I never thought about Johnny Depp whilst reading but I can see him as Mr Doyle. So very eccentric but amusing. I would love to see what kind of observance tests he had that Jack didn’t pick up on! 😀 Thanks Kelly.

  2. I need to read this…my sister reviewed it for me so it kind of got pushed to the back of the TBR. It sounds really quirky! And I LOVE Sherlock Holmes! (Though, well, I guess I’m not a “real” fan because I only watch the various versions of the shows and movies and Disney equivalents. xD) Isn’t it the first of 8 or something crazy like that?! Pretty impressive.

    • I think you can be a fan despite not reading the books. There are some purists who might disagree but it if you have enjoyed what you’ve experienced – I still think that makes you a fan 🙂
      IT is the first in eight – that’s kind of crazy. There’s a lot of room for character growth and should prove to be an interesting series 🙂

  3. For some reason when I first saw this book I thought it was middle grade and so decided not to read it (not that I don’t read middle-grade, I do, but my TBR pile is huge and it didn’t grab my attention enough to add to it.) but after your review I see I’m wrong. It certainly sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Pingback: Book Review: The Secret Abyss by Darrell Pitt

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