I read A.M. Howell's 'The Mystery of The Night Watchers' in two long train journeys and I was so gripped that I genuinely missed my stop. This is a brilliant historical mystery set against the backdrop of the arrival of Halley's Comet in 1910.
Twelve-year-old Nancy and her half-sister Violet are unexpectedly told by their mother that they will be leaving their Leeds home for Suffolk, where they will stay with their grandfather in his house above the apothecary that he runs. She says that the reason for their trip is that she must help him observe the approaching comet from the cupola that forms part of his house.
Upon arrival, Nancy soon realises that all is not as it seems. The girls are not allowed to leave the house, their mother is constantly withdrawn and worried, and their grandfather's customers are shunning him. What's more, the town's mayor has come to threaten him on a couple of occasions.
Nancy makes friends with a local boy, Burch, and together they attempt to uncover what really is going on and why her mother and grandfather are making trips to the town jail under the cover of darkness.
This fast-paced mystery is filled with brilliant historical detail, and there's a very handy note from the author at the end of the book about her research into this fascinating time period. I was so interested to read about the different reactions that people had to Halley's comet, and particularly about the 'Comet Pills' which were used to ward off the supposed sickness that it could bring with it.
I would thoroughly recommend this story to all mystery lovers!