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The Painted Dragon

A fast-paced historical mystery adventure for readers aged 9+ years, with gorgeous Edwardian period detail. Perfect for fans of Chris Riddell's Goth Girl series, Enid Blyton and Robin Stevens's Murder Most Unladylike series. 

When a priceless painting is stolen, our dauntless heroines Sophie and Lil find themselves faced with forgery, trickery and deceit on all sides!

Be amazed as the brave duo pit their wits against this perilous puzzle! Marvel at their cunning plan to unmask the villain and prove themselves detectives to be reckoned with – no matter what dangers lie ahead . . .

It’s their most perilous adventure yet!


Praise for The Clockwork Sparrow:

'A wonderful book, with a glorious heroine and a true spirit of adventure’ – Katherine Rundell, author of Rooftoppers

‘A real page-turner, it has murders, spies and gangs of thieves. Thrilling!’ – Indiana, aged 10 years, LoveReadingforKids reviewer

'Dastardliness on a big scale is uncovered in this well-plotted, evocative novel' - Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times

'It's a dashing plot, an atmospheric setting and an extensive and imaginative cast. Katherine Woodfine handles it all with aplomb' - Julia Eccleshare, Guardian

'An incredible read full of mystery, wonder and adventure...This is now one of my top ten.- Celeste, age 13 years, LoveReading4Kids reviewer

The Painted Dragon is the third book in the Sinclair's Mysteries quartet, which is perfect for fans of Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls and M G Leonard's Beetle Boy. The other books are The Clockwork Sparrow and The Jewelled Moth. And look out for the thrilling conclusion in The Midnight Peacock, coming in October!

Katherine Woodfine is a true champion of children’s literature. Until 2015 she was Arts Project Manager for Booktrust, where she project-managed the Children's Laureateship and YALC, the UK’s first Young Adult Literature Convention, curated by Malorie Blackman.

She is  part of the founding team at Down the Rabbit Hole, a monthly show for Resonance FM discussing children’s literature.

Katherine blogs at She lives in London.

Words from Katherine Woodfine

From The Railway Children and The Secret Garden to The Wind in the Willows and Peter Pan, many of the most famous children’s books of all time are set during the Edwardian era, when the Sinclair’s Mysteries take place. But which of these literary characters from 1900s London might Sophie, Lil and the gang make friends with? Here are some of the other book characters who might join their mystery-solving team.

Oswald Bastable (from The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit)

Whilst Sophie and company are busy solving mysteries at Sinclair’s department store, the Bastable family are having their own adventures: digging for treasure in the Lewisham Road and being highwaymen on Blackheath, all in the hope of restoring the fallen fortunes of the House of Bastable. The intrepid Bastable children would all make great additions to the Sinclair’s gang, but in particular, oldest brother Oswald would be certain to get on brilliantly with Billy, who shares his love of tales of daring-do - and his lively imagination!

Maia (from Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson)

Maia from Journey to the River Sea and her governess Miss Minton are two of my favourite Edwardian characters. I’m sure that Sophie would make great friends with adventurous Maia, who like her is an orphan, and who shares her bravery and her ability to make friends with all kinds of different people. Maia’s courage, determination and kindness would make her an excellent asset to the team - and I know that Sophie and Lil would love hearing all about her exciting adventures in the Amazon jungle.

The Baker Street Irregulars (from the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle)

By 1909, when the Sinclair’s Mysteries are set, Sherlock Holmes had retired to the Sussex Downs and taken up beekeeping as a hobby instead of solving crimes! But if they had chance to meet, there’s no doubt that the gang would love to get a few top mystery-solving tips from the great detective himself. However, it’s perhaps more likely that they would have a chance to team up with some of the members of the Baker Street Irregulars - a gang of street children who worked for Holmes, and helped to gather important information for his cases.

Digory and Polly (from The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis)

Digory and Polly, from C. S. Lewis’s Narnia story The Magician’s Nephew, are two ordinary Edwardian children who are plunged into an extraordinary and magical adventure. After travelling to the Wood Between the Worlds and taking on the terrible Queen Jadis, it’s certain that they wouldn’t be in the least daunted by helping Sophie and Lil with a spot of detective work — or even facing the Baron himself!

Young Lord Peter Wimsey (from the Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers)

You’ve heard of Young Bond and Young Sherlock Holmes… but what about Young Peter Wimsey? Dorothy Sayers’s detective novels about aristocratic detective Lord Peter are some of my favourite mysteries. The stories, which take place in the 1920s and 1930s, feature Wimsey as a grown up - but at the time of the Sinclair’s Mysteries, Wimsey would still have been a teenager. In fact, in 1909 he’d have been beginning his studies at Balliol College - the very same Oxford college that Lil’s brother Jack briefly attends, before deciding to pursue a career as an artist. Were the two of them to cross paths, I have no doubt that the clever young Wimsey would make a rather brilliant addition to the team!

Join the conversation: #PaintedDragon

Katherine Woodfine
Publication Date:
February 09, 2017
Age Range:
From 9 years