The Mysterious Bookshop

Hancocks, Helen, William & the Missing Masterpiece

Kirkus Review
2015-01-20
Lovers of art, runny cheese and cats will be drawn to this adventure featuring William, "international cat of mystery." Hurriedly summoned to Paris by museum director Monsieur Gruyère, William, a bon vivant tuxedo cat-cum-detective, is charged with solving the mystery of a stolen masterpiece. He must recover the incomparable Mona Cheesa, a portrait of a mysterious woman flanked by wheels of cheese. (She also bears an uncanny resemblance to Leonardo's La Gioconda). William has much detection to do. He soon focuses on a mysterious stranger in a long coat and winding red scarf, who leads him on a serpentine journey through the landmarks and artist haunts of Paris. Spoiler alert! Here the cat's paw is not a human art thief but instead a clever mischief of cheese-loving mice! Kids will enjoy the bright, bold, generous double-page spreads featuring retro-looking multimedia paintings, lots of smarty-pants detail and the debonair William. Adults will chuckle in recognition at the Parisian landmarks, cheesy puns, satiric faux newspaper stories and the clever feline painting knock-offs of familiar masterpieces by the likes of Munch, van Dyck, Seurat, Manet, Matisse, Picasso, Dalí and more. As with Hancocks' memorable debut, Penguin in Peril (2014), this will not fail to both enchant and engage. (Picture book. 3-7)