Detective Mo 3 Update

If you’ve been following me on social media, you might have seen me drop a few teasers about the next instalment in the Detective Mo series (title tbh) so I thought it was about time I gave you a proper update.

This book has proven a little bit trickier to write than the previous two. In Missing Prince, Mo had a fairly simple puzzle to solve which simply involved deducing what happened to Prince Percy and who was responsible. In Pirate’s Treasure, Mo was simply following a series of riddles. In both cases, I was trying to balance writing a compelling story that children would enjoy reading or having read to them with giving them clues and puzzles to solve.

Detective Mo 3 is going to be a bit different. I am still planning on writing an engaging story and I am still planning on encouraging the reader to solve the clues, but in this story Mo is about to come face to face with her arch nemesis (yeah, I know, I said I wasn’t going to do that). As a result, the reader isn’t just going to have to solve the clues. They’re going to have to help Mo to filter the clues, because some of them will be mere red herrings (e.g.: characters offering Mo hearsay and rumour, rather than actual evidence) and others will be blatant lies deliberately put in place by the villain to mislead the reader.

I did it this way for a couple of reasons.

First, I like to think there is an educational aspect to the Detective Mo stories. I originally wrote Detective Mo for my daughter, because I wanted to encourage critical thinking and logical reasoning in a way which would also be fun for her. Given the world our kids will be growing up in, full of fake news, culture wars, armchair journalists and conspiracy theories, I think it is important to encourage our kids not to blindly accept everything they are told as gospel without first putting it to the test.

Second, I thought it would add a little sprinkle of excitement to Detective Mo if she had a real bad guy to go up against. Don’t misunderstand me, there still won’t be any threats of violence or danger (it is still a kids book!) but I don’t want to just repeat the same problem in a different package for every Detective Mo which means the series has to evolve. The fact is, it was really limiting trying to write a compelling mystery story with no antagonist to throw up any serious opposition for Mo. In both books so far, she just breezed in and solved the problem. Not this time. This time, someone is proactively trying to out-manoeuvre her.

This has been a tough one to write, far tougher than the last two, and certainly more ambitious. I’m not too proud to tell you, I hope I haven’t made it too complicated but the basic skeleton of the story is now done and just needs to go through a few redrafts to make it more readable. After that I’ll just need to do the pictures, so hopefully we won’t have too much longer to wait and see if all this work has paid off.

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