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Lindsey's Literary Leanings

Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction / Biographies / Autobiographies

  • Lindsey Skelton-Smith

The Treasure of Kurukhstan (Author: John Guthrie)


Book Cover - The Treasure of Kurukhstan

Captivating, Charming, Intriguing


Genre: Children’s/Young Adult Fiction


The Treasure of Kurukhstan By John Guthrie


Ellen is an extremely eloquent and forthright fourteen year old with big ambitions for the period in which she lives, which is not particularly favourable toward the female gender.


She has set her sights on becoming a Detective, a very private one. With the help of her school friend acting as a very willing ‘Watson’ to Ellen’s ‘Sherlock’, they resolve to investigate and conclude a mystery involving treasure, an injured soldier on leave, two brothers and a curious stranger from a far off country…

This book intrigued me, as on initial impressions, the title didn’t suggest to me that it would be ‘up my street’, however the illustration on the cover did. Then I noticed that, on Amazon it was noted that the target reader would be aged 11-18 years of age which further stretched my curiosity. I had previously read one of John’s books aimed at younger readers, and was blown away. It was this lasting impression that persuaded me to give this new book a go.


The Author’s writing is always strikingly eloquent, and therefore the same can usually be said of his main characters, unless they are of course, not meant to be. In the case of The Treasure Of Kurukhstan, the latter is true of Ellen. The idea of a 14 year old with such an extensive vocabulary seemed quite unorthodox despite her families standing in society, that and her quirky personality immediately drew me to her. In the opening paragraph, I got a real sense of who she is and knew from that paragraph that this book would be worth reading. Ellen and Jo made a great inquisitive duo and I thought it was very endearing how Jo appeared to be in awe of Ellen, with her fierce self-assurance and firm self-belief instilling the knowledge within her that she knows better than those whose job it is to solve the crime.


I liked the way that the truth behind the assailant is concealed and you are left guessing and just when you think that you must have surely missed something, Jo reveals to Ellen that she is none the wiser, confirming that you are still on track. Even when Ellen is following her instincts to obtain information, nothing is explained or given away. Even I, a good three decades older than our heroine, had no clue. I also think that there is actually no age limit as to who can enjoy this wonderfully lively and joyous narrative. Eleven years of age if not a couple of years older is probably the correct starting point though.

This is a simple but articulate, expressive story that will make you smile throughout and took me back to the types of books I read as a child, and more of today’s generation should experience this Authors and other writers reads written in the same vein. I was asked recently by my partner, which Authors John’s writing puts me in mind of, and I replied ‘Enid Blyton with a touch of Roald Dahl’.

Another enchanting tale by Author John Guthrie.

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