The Witch of Clatteringshaws lives in Scotland in a disused Ladies Convenience - not at all convenient, the plumbing having long been smashed. In London, Simon Battersea, unhappily settled on the throne of England, is forced to live in St Jame's Palace with his good friend, Dido Twite. Never has Joan Aiken's wild imagination been more in evidence as Dido, travelling north to investigate a false claimant to the throne, is confronted by abandoned children, monsters and murderers, while Simon has to defend his country against invading Wends.
Their instinct to go north is a good one for it is the witch, Malise, who provides the key to everyone's troubles in a wonderfully swift and extravagant climax. A tremendous read and a truly satisfying ending to the Dido and Simon saga.
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Dido, a child Odysseus, is one of the great fictional heroines - The Times
What I relish in particular is the swiftness of the telling, the vigour with which brilliant moments of perception seem to be imporvised in the sheer delight of the onward rush of the story -
'Quirky' is a word which could have been invented to describe the books in this series . . . What they are, first and foremost, is fun - Observer
To the last, energy and invention show no sign of flapping - TES
Brilliant in its own right, The Witch of Clatteringshaws is also a wholly satisfying ending to Joan Aiken's long-running and original saga of Dido Twite and her friend Simon Battersea - Guardian
Aiken is like no one else. No other writer sets invention free with such exhilarating, irresponsible variety as she does. She runs the long distance race of a novel at the narrative pace of the sprinter - Books for Keeps
The last of Joan Aiken's tremendous Wolves of Willoughby Chase sequence . . . an action-packed finale - The School Librarian
Prize-winning Joan Aiken was born in Sussex in 1924 and came from a family of writers. Her father was the novelist and poet, Conrad Aiken and her sister, Jane Aiken Hodge, writes historical fiction for adults. Before joining the 'family business' herself, Joan had a variety of jobs, including working for the BBC, the United Nations Information Centre and then as features editor for a short story magazine. Her first children's novel, The Kingdom of the Cave was published in 1960. Since then she has written over 100 books for young readers and adults and has been awarded the MBE for her services to literature. Joan Aiken died in 2004.