First published: 2013
This new book features Rachel Pearse.
Her mother wants her to leave London and stay in a boarding school so that she can be safe. Yet, Rachel leaves the train and returns home, certain that she will get a good scolding. Her mother is dismayed to see her appear, but Rachel says that she will be worried all the time. Mrs Pearse is sick, and later we learn that she has cancer. Rachel’s father is away as he is some kind of scientist, so he is working for the war cabinet.
One of her neighbours is Mrs Hoffman, a German woman who keeps a parrot that keeps talking in German. Mrs Hoffman tells Rachel and Mrs Pearse that the train that Rachel decided not to take was hit and burnt to a crisp, which means that Rachel escaped a more than likely death.
Another neighbour is Inspector Blake, who tells Rachel about the criminals that ransack houses and other properties. Rachel then remembers a boy who he almost ran over with her bicycle, and she thinks that he might be involved in these robberies. So she decides to investigate and goes to the pub that Inspector Blake thinks is the headquarters of the crooks. The boy, Paul Gabriel, works there as a waiter, and at first she thinks that he might have stolen a bracelet which her father gave and she can’t find. Yet, after visiting the pub and talking to Paul, she discovers that her bracelet was tangled in the material of her gloves, so that means that she has been wrong.
The interesting thing about this book is the main character, Rachel, who is a very peculiar and great character. Rachel is very independent and funny in the way she perceives the world. Rachel suffers from eczema, so she tries to cover her hands with gloves. Apart from that, it is interesting to see the way people had to accommodate their lives to the attacks from the Nazis. In the book we see Rachel and Mrs Hoffman go to the shelter in the tube station every night to spend the night there. What a terrible time people had to live back then!