Cliff, Tony. Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling. (Delilah Dirk series, #2) First Second/Roaring Brook, 2016. $17.99. 272p. ISBN 9781626721555. Ages 12-15. P8Q9
Thoughtless but brave Dirk and her careful, gentle sidekick Mister Selim, introduced in Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, leave France to travel to England in pursuit Major Derrick where Selim discovers Dirk’s background as a high-born lady. As in the first book, the dynamic duo are embroiled in danger as Dirk, accused of being a spy, reveals the true spy in the man who accuses her. Dirk’s greatest adversary, however, is her mother, but she finds protection from her uncle and Selim—when she follows his diplomatic advice. Cliff uses Dirk to explore issues of women’s inequality, the disparity between the income of the rich and poor, and societal expectations during the first part of nineteenth century as well as Dirk’s frustrations from her mother’s attempt to control her. Verdict: Humor and action in the colorful panels of this graphic novel will attract readers who earlier enjoyed the adventures of Cleopatra and Zita. Cliff covers not only social issues but also the friendship between the two protagonists that Delilah briefly damages as she loses herself in her former life with aristocrats. Although the book can be read without the first one, libraries should also provide the first book in the series. Readers will love the square-jawed young woman who is ready to dive into any situation where someone needs help.
January 2017 review by Nel Ward.