Chicken House has struck a three-book deal with debut author Holly Rivers for her middle-grade mystery series, Demelza and the Spectre Detectors.
Barry Cunningham, Chicken House publisher, acquired world rights to three novels in the series from Kate Shaw at the Shaw Agency. The first book in the series, Demelza and the Spectre Detectors, publishes in February 2020, with the cover illustrated by acclaimed artist Alex T Smith.
"Demelza loves science – she loves it so much that she stays up late to work on her inventions. But she soon discovers she’s also inherited a distinctly unscientific skill: Spectre Detecting," reads the synopsis. "Like her grandmother, she can summon the ghosts of the dead. When Grandma Maeve is kidnapped, Demelza and her pasty-faced best friend, Percy, must leap into action to solve the deadly mystery."
Rivers, who is no stranger to children's books after starring in ITV's "Worst Witch" series as a child, said: "Demelza has found a perfect home with Chicken House, and I can't wait for readers to don their thinking caps, pick up their soldering irons, and join her on her first otherworldly adventure!"
Demelza and the Spectre Detectors will be leading Chicken House’s publishing programme in its 20th anniversary year, and will be a lead title at Frankfurt Book Fair next week.
Cunningham said: "Holly and Demelza are both charismatic, funny and engaging characters – a perfect pair to make their mark in children’s books together, I can’t wait to publish."
Shaw added: "Demelza and the Spectre Detectors is a gothic, gripping and gorgeous story that will fire up young imagination – and Alex T Smith’s illustration is perfect!"