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Duncan Versus the Googleys

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Beware the villainous old ladies...

When Duncan finds himself unceremoniously dumped at Arthritis Hall - a forsaken retirement community of wild and wicked old ladies - to stay with his Great Aunt Harriet he doesn't expect to be embroiled in a plot involving bizarre electronic creatures and acts of ingenious thievery.

But when Duncan meets headstrong Ursula, the caretakers daughter who knows every hidden route and secret passageway in the building, things are quick to take a dangerous turn as the two discover all the diabolical secrets that lurk in the shadows of Arthritis Hall, including some eavesdropping googleys, knitting obsessed thieves and a deadly mechanical monster with a mind of its own. But can Duncan and Ursula outwit the fiendish group of elderly criminal masterminds before it's too late?

Duncan Versus the Googleys by Kate Milner is such a treasure of a book, I've honestly never read anything quite like it! So quirky and original in its plot, Milner's debut middle grade book is a deliciously madcap, riveting read that I gobbled up in one sitting.

Featuring an eccentric cast of scheming old ladies, knitting obsessed thieves and two fearless children, Duncan Versus the Googleys is full to the brim of witty remarks, ingenious inventions and fantastic feats. Combining the wild and the wonderful, each of Milner's characters were distinctly and wholeheartedly crafted. I loved Duncan and Ursula's harmonious friendship, not to mention Ursula's fierce and courageous personality. And despite being the villains of the story, I loved that Milner turned the tables on the stereotypical and instead gave her little old ladies such a strong sense of power and intelligence, even in Great Aunt Harriet we witnessed a driving passion for STEM. But between all the thrills and the googleys, Milner's story is subtly underlined with themes of societal surveillance and the power of technology.

It's always a treat when an author illustrates their own story and throughout Duncan Versus the Googleys, Milner marked each new chapter with a stunningly detailed hand-drawn black and white illustration, which in turn beautifully contributed to the vividness of the story.

I for one cannot wait to see what Kate Milner comes up with next, and with Duncan Versus the Googleys to go on then there's no limit to the wonders of her imagination. Fans of Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl will adore.

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