The King’s Puzzle by Ian Wilson
An Angus Wolfe Adventure, Book 1
Length: Short Story (124 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 5 Stars
Review by: Myrtle
A letter from Buckingham Palace prompts 13-year-old Angus Wolfe to investigate “The King s Puzzle” – a treasure hunt created by the boy’s grandfather especially for His Majesty King George VI to solve while touring Canada by train in 1939. The young history enthusiast is burning with curiosity. Why did his grandfather keep the Puzzle a secret from his family for his entire life? And why did the boy not keep a promised rendezvous with the King’s train in 1939? Aided by his girlfriend, Amanda, Angus attempts to solve a mystery three generations late – with people, places and things gone or unalterably changed. The boy detective is inspired by the voices of two kindred spirits – his puzzlemaster grandfather and King George VI – speaking to him across decades of time. But it soon becomes clear that sinister forces are at work in the present day; someone does not want the King’s Puzzle solved and may take drastic measures to foil Angus’s attempt. Will his enemy thwart his efforts and possibly bring harm upon the boy and his family?
Death, lies, and deceit … What could possibly be more fun for a sixteen-year-old sleuth?
Angus Wolfe, known as “Wolfie” to those closest, and his long-time friend Amanda are searching for the answers to a family mystery that no one else can solve: It involves a train, a king, and a puzzle!
Back in 1939, Angus’s grandfather, then ten-years-old, created a treasure hunt for King George VI to solve while touring Canada aboard the Royal Train. His grandfather kept the answer to the puzzle a secret from everyone, agreeing to meet the king at the train stop with its answer. But when King George VI arrives, the ten-year-old is not there to meet the train. The answer to the puzzle is the crux of this wonderful mystery!
Angus and Amanda have been friends for a long time, but it seems Amanda has more-than-friends notions on her mind. However, Angus is so focused on the mystery surrounding the king and his Royal Train that it takes a while for him to realize Amanda’s admiration for him goes a bit further than solving puzzles. Once the two discover their mutual attraction, a stronger bond forms and the search to solve the puzzle grows even stronger for Amanda.
These two smart sixteen-year-olds have charming interactions throughout the story, but an unexpected twist adds an additional element I wasn’t expecting. An older woman, one hoping to solve the mystery of the King’s Puzzle herself, shows a flirty interest in young Angus. I am confident that in future volumes of this series, Amanda will find a way to keep Angus’s attention focused elsewhere.
Written beautifully, this book has a plot worth following. It is an innocent romance, so younger YA readers, as well as older than YA, will find it a good, suspenseful read.
If you love a good, clean mystery with historical elements, you’ll enjoy The King’s Puzzle!