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Publisher's Summary

The incredible tale of America's first-ever female detective and her spirited niece!
Eleven-year-old Nell Warne arrives on her aunt's doorstep lugging a heavy sack of sorrows. If her Aunt Kate rejects her, it's the miserable Home for the Friendless.
Luckily, canny Nell makes herself indispensable to Aunt Kate...and not just by helping out with household chores. For Aunt Kate is the first-ever female detective employed by the legendary Pinkerton Detective Agency. And Nell has a knack for the kind of close listening and bold action that made Pinkerton detectives famous in Civil War-era America. With huge, nation-changing events simmering in the background, Nell uses skills new and old to uncover truths about her past and solve mysteries in the present.
Based on the extraordinary true story of Kate Warne, this fast-paced adventure recounts feats of daring and danger...including saving the life of Abraham Lincoln!
©2015 Kate Hannigan (P)2015 Hachette Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Nell is an irrepressible character: spirited, thoughtful, and intuitive.... Recommend to readers who enjoy adventure, history, and stories featuring independent, strong-minded girls." (SLJ)
"Hannigan makes skillful use of period details, bringing the novel's threads together in a nail-biting conclusion. Nell is a fearless, no-nonsense heroine, and her dry-witted narration drives this rollicking historical escapade." (Publishers Weekly)
"A rousing fictional account of the remarkable career of a pioneering woman." (Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Heather on 08-02-16

Sidekicks rule!

This is the first book I've read or listened to by Kate Hannigan, but I hope it is not my last. The story is historical fiction and includes some true elements, but the main character is fiction and was fun to read and cheer for. Her adventures with the Pinkertons have a nice mix of suspense and humor and the action keeps moving along, which is important in middle grade fiction.
Hannigan includes interesting details of the time without letting the story get overwhelmed in the history--she keeps readers firmly focused on the main character, who I found relatable, clever, and spunky. I would recommend this for MG readers who enjoy a good balance of adventure and historical fiction with strong central characters and quirky secondary characters.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By EJMJ~I on 11-01-17

Enjoyed from first page!

I mostly enjoyed the way Ms. Hannigan successfully wove an entertaining story around actual history. I know “Historical Fiction” is a sub-genre of Fict., but many offerings take so much license with events that they belong in Alt. Reality Fict. This trend seems to be growing but I don’t really know. The Detective’s Asst. treated Kate Warne’s history well and I appreciated the use of actual cases throughout. (It must be hard weaving a good story when limited by aim of using as much true history possible. Thanks Ms. Hannigan! and Ms. Lakin!

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