Knightly and Son by Rohan Gavin

Knightly & Son

Bloomsbury, 2014

The best way that Darkus Knightly knows to spend time with his father is probably immoral. As a minor, and since his dad never gave him permission, he’s not really allowed to read the private eye’s casebook. But since Mr. Knightly has been in a mysterious coma for four years, it’s the only way for Darkus to get to know his father better. When his father does wake up, he desperately needs Darkus’ help to find and stop the evil that is wreaking havoc through a book called The Code. Soon Darkus, Knightly and a cast of amusing characters are bombing around London in a classic black cab doing their best to save the world.

Knightly and Son is an engaging read and a cracking good mystery. The story, with its larger-than-life characters and evil magic doesn’t take itself too seriously. The humor is engaging: a Scotland Yard detective whose accent and vocabulary often leave everyone uncertain of what he’s said, a finicky celebrity stepdad, a stepsister whose hair color changes constantly. Even as the humor makes the book engaging, there are great insights into humanity through the characters here. The relationship between the Knightlys is painful and heartwarming in turns, and all the characters seem to struggle with their own complex needs, wants, and realities, making them all the more appealing.

Because of Knightly and Son’s depth, pace, and humor, I’d recommend it to lots of different kinds of readers. Plus, it’s got London. Who doesn’t love a book set in London? Knightly and Son #2 K-9 is out, too. I hope it will be another fun and funny middle grade read.

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