Clare County Library
Your Library Your Website
Home | Library Catalogue | Children's Services | Branch Libraries | Books of the Month | Library Events | Library Account | Book Promotions

Book Reviews (Children's)

The Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins








<< Children's Book Reviews

The Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins
Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, 2007

Reviewed by Miltown Malbay Library Children’s Bookclub

Ludlow Fitch is a young boy living in the foul ‘City’ along with two equally foul parents. The story begins by Ludlow waking up in a basement surrounded by his parents and a tooth surgeon named Barton Gumbroot who buys people’s teeth for cash. As his parents try to strap him to a chair so that Barton Gumbroot can remove his teeth, Ludlow filled with a seething fury, puts up a mighty fight and manages to escape. He runs out the door and heads for Mr. Jellico’s pawnshop only to find the shop in darkness when he reaches it so instead he runs to the bridge over the river Foedus and just spots a carriage ready to leave. He jumps onto the back of the carriage which he finds out later is owned and contained a Mr. Jeremiah Rachet a wealthy landlord.

The carriage rattles along for hours and finally reaches what Ludlow finds out to be the town of Pagus Parvus. Ludlow disembarks from the carriage and heads up the hill towards a vacant house where he meets a mysterious and well dressed man called Joe Zabbidou, who has also just arrived in the village. Joe tells Ludlow he is a ‘secret pawnbroker’who trades people’s deepest, darkest secrets for cash. Joe hires Ludlow as his assistant where he records many of the towns peoples fiendish confessions into a leather-bound book called: the Black Book of Secrets.

Once Joe and Ludlow’s work is complete and they have delivered the people of Pagus Parvus from the evil Jeremiah Rachet, they leave and end up at a secret location in a cave in the mountains where most things finally become clear to Ludlow. Joe shows Ludlow a room filled with rows and rows of Black Books of Secrets from all over the world and tells him how one day, he too can become a ‘Secret Pawnbroker’ but first he must reveal his own secret.

Ludlow’s secret is the start of a new book of secrets and Joe decides how they must go to the ‘City’ despite Ludlow’s objections, where many there, might benefit from their services.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

Divider Line