HomeAll postsDemelza and the Spectre Detectors by Holly Rivers

Demelza and the Spectre Detectors by Holly Rivers

A review by Emma Streeton

Demelza loves science – she loves it so much that she’s been known to stay up late to work on her peculiar inventions! But Demelza discovers she has inherited a distinctly un-scientific set of skills: Spectre Detecting. Like her grandmother, she can summon the ghosts of the dead and she soon learns that it is her family’s duty to honor this skill. But when Grandma is kidnapped by a mysterious villain, she knows Spectre Detecting has something to do with it. Only Demelza and her pasty best friend, Percy, can solve the deadly mystery.

Demelza and the spectre detectors

Reading together

If there is one book to cosy up and read with your middle grader this winter make it this one! Oh my goodness, I had such fun reading this with my littlest bookworm. Our rule of four chapters before bed was a really hard one to stick to. No matter how tired we both were, it was impossible not to implore each other to read on. We laughed, we gasped and we adored our way through this book. Together we enjoyed every moment this story had to offer. It is rare to find a kid’s book that is equally entertaining for a grown up. This one truly is.

Demelza as protagonist

Demelza is an absolutely brilliant protagonist and heroine. She is quirky, kind, funny and intelligent. With her dislike for boring school homework and her endless curiosity, she is a character that kids are sure to connect with. My bookworm delighted in the inventions Demelza dreamed up. It gave way to amusing conversations as to what whimsical creations my seven year old thinks we need in the world. Needless to say this story certainly sparked her imagination!


My favourite character was Grandma Maeve. She is ‘cool granny’ personified and, along with Percy, I could not think of a more perfect sidekick for Demelza.

The verdict

Demelza and the Spectre Detectors is a simply fantastic debut that keeps you guessing until the end. I was totally blindsided by the twist in the plot but my bookworm assures me she saw it coming but didn’t want to spoil it for me! I can see this book doing very well and if it results in a series I would be delighted. Thankyou Holly Rivers for such a great book to share with my daughter. Bring on more ghosts!

Book details

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
ISBN10:  1912626039
ISBN13: 9781912626038
Imprint: Chicken House (Australian distributor: Scholastic Australia)
Released: 2020
Format: paperback, 336 pages
Category: children

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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