I started reading Karin Bachmann’s “The Venetian Pearls” with the idea: Let’s see how a Swiss-German writer copes with the English language – for the English book market, nota bene. I finished the book wondering whether the Author would be able to write at least one single page in decent German, considering that her English sounds so remarkably fluent, British native and natural.
Karin Bachmann is a woman with a sense for detail – at least, I think she is. Her vocabulary is of such preciseness that I’m doubting she could reach the same level by translating the “The Venetian Pearls” into German. On the other hand, if she cannot – who could?
Whilst we’re at it, there is so much authenticity in the book – I guess, the author must have spent almost half of her holidays in the Scillies for the last ten years.
“The Venetian Pearls” is a whodunit for children of about 10 to 13 years. Nevertheless it was great fun for me reading the book. Actually, I grew up with the books of Enid Blyton. I was a big fan of “The Secret Seven” series, which is called “Die Schwarze Sieben” in German. There is a lot of Blyton in Karin Bachmann’s story – probably not “The Secret Seven”, surely not the ambiance of the 50s.
Let me put it this way: “The Venetian Pearls” is “The Famous Five” of three, in a contemporary setting, on one of the Isles of Scilly, matching Blyton’s sense of tension and adventure. There is a lot of “the-good-old-world-of-smuggling-feeling” in the book. There is even a bootleg involved – in the original meaning.
Daniel, one of the three children chasing a couple who might have stolen the famous Luardi Pearls, has got a prosthesis after having lost the lower part of one leg in a car accident. I like this second angle in the plot around Daniel and his over-protective mother very much.
The other children are of the same age, cousins, Nicky and Chris, staying at her grandmother’s for a few weeks, smelling the upcoming adventure, jumping at it without hesitation.
“The Venetian Pearls” is not a “whodunit” in the original sense of the word, as it is quite clear who did “it”. The burning questions are whether it is provable or not and, of course, where the heck the pearls are, and how they managed to get the stolen pearls through the detector at the heliport? There is even more in the book which makes it a page-turner. However, I won’t reveal too much in this review.
I enjoyed reading this book very much. I’m sure it is great fun for children who love adventure stories.
Congratulations, Karin, on this masterpiece!