Normally, we would look for parallels of Ellis’s experiences with those of Pearly Stockwell, but on this occasion, the child detective’s adventures haven’t yet caused her to stare Death directly in the face.

Pearly is an orphan, as the captions say at the start of every adventure, but her parents died when she was three weeks old and so she never knew them. Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, depending on how much regard you hold the various writers of the Pearly Stockwell series in, nothing else is ever said about her parents and aside from the fact of her inheritance, this aspect of Pearly is never ever explored. (This may well change, of course, as the editorial team responsible for the Pearly Stockwell series tend to have a very high turnover and the franchise is in continual need of reinvention).

Those of you who have read the series for yourselves will know that the writers tend to prefer to keep people alive for what often seem like solely spiteful reasons, and many is the time that you find yourself thinking that perhaps the death of a particular character would prevent them from having to face the kind of humiliation that a gifted but fictional child detective is always capable of dishing out.

Anyway, on with the sadness.

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