Books and other works

The Short Knife

The Short Knife Cover  buy nowIt is the year 454AD. The Roman Empire has withdrawn from Britain, throwing it into the chaos of the Dark Ages. Mai has been kept safe by her father and her sister, Haf. But when Saxon warriors arrive at their farm, the family is forced to flee to the hills where British warlords lie in wait. Can Mai survive in a dangerous world where speaking her mother tongue might be deadly, and where even the people she loves the most can’t be trusted?


 New Young Adult fiction, published by Andersen Press.

A distinctive and engrossing tale.

David Almond

Bright and real as the midsummer sunlight, and as powerfully drawn as a sharp, short knife.

Hilary McKay

I just loved 'The Short Knife'. Beautifully written, lyrical and powerful – it’s a fascinating insight into dark and desperate times which I found utterly absorbing. Grim and gritty but ultimately uplifting – it’s a beautiful tribute to the courage and ingenuity of sisters.

Tanya Landman

A gorgeously written tale with a sublime lyricism to it... the story resonates across the ages, holding a mirror up to contemporary Britain.

Catherine Bruton

Elen Caldecott presents the sensory world of Late Antique Britain – clothes, artefacts and precarious lives – with compelling originality.

Caroline Lawrence


Hear Elen in conversation with Nikki Gamble of Just Imagine on the subject of The Short Knife:


just imagine interview

In the Reading Corner

Evie's Magic Bracelet

What if you had a magic bracelet that gave you the power to talk to animals?

One morning Evie gets a special parcel in the post from her Grandma Iris in Jamaica. Inside layers of tissue and colourful ribbons is a beautiful bracelet!

And the bracelet isn't just beautiful ... it shows Evie that there's magic everywhere, if she can just find out how to use it.

With a bit of determination and some help from her friends, Evie's ready to have some magical adventures!

This is the first in a sensational seven-book series co-written by Jessica Ennis-Hill and Elen Caldecott.

Marsh Road Mysteries 5: Dogs And Doctors

Meet Piotr, Minnie, Andrew, Flora and Sylvie - thebuy now Marsh Road Investigators.

Sylvie Hampshire is in hospital. She knows she's responsible enough to take control of her diabetes medication, but now she has to prove it on the hospital ward. She's only been there a couple of hours when Barry, a therapy dog, goes missing in suspicious circumstances. It's time to bring in the gang! With their detective senses on high alert, the five friends set out to find Barry, but the stakes soon become much higher than they thought. Have they finally met their match? Not if Sylvie Hampshire has anything to do with it!

Marsh Road Mysteries 4: Cats and Curses

Cats and Curses is the next instalment in the exciting Marsh Road Mysteries series.


It's a good day for Andrew. His mum is feeling better than she has done in ages and she's even going back to work at last. But things begin to go badly wrong when she signs for a mysterious package containing an ancient Egyptian mummified cat. Has the fated feline cursed the Marsh Road junk shop - or is there something else afoot? The five friends have a new case to solve.

Marsh Road Mysteries 3: Spooks and Scooters

Spooks and Scooters is the third exciting book in the Marsh Road Mysteries series.


Flora and Sylvie are going on the holiday of a lifetime with their dad. But - WHAT? - Dad cancels the trip only hours before the flight because - OH MY GOODNESS - someone has stolen precious blueprints of Dad's latest invention: an amazing new scooter. But who? And why? Time to call on the only five people who can possibly solve the crime!

Marsh Road Mysteries 2: Crowns and Codebreakers

Lost luggage sparks a new case for the Marsh Road Investigators!

When Minnie’s gran comes all the way from Nigeria to visit, Minnie is very excited. But – CATASTOPHE! – Gran’s picked up the wrong suitcase at the airport and this one is full of boy’s clothes. And then their house is burgled – OH NO – and the only thing taken is the case. Minnie realises there’s a mystery to be solved. It’s time to get the gang together!

The second in a fantastic new series filled with friendship, adventure and mystery!





You can read the first chapter and download an activity pack from Bloomsbury's website. Join in the fun!

Marsh Road Mysteries: Diamonds and Daggers

Meet Piotr, Minnie, Andrew, Flora and Sylvia - true friends and even better mystery-solvers!


Hollywood sensation, Betty Massino, has come to star in the theatre down the road and Piotr and his friends Andrew and Minnie couldn't be more excited! But when the famous actress's hugely expensive diamond necklace goes missing, Piotr's dad, a security guard at the theatre, is a prime suspect. Soon, Piotr faces the very real threat of being sent 'home' to Poland. With the help of Sylvie and her twin sister Flora, can Piotr, Andrew and Minnie solve the crime or will they lose Piotr forever? The first in a fantastic new series filled with friendship, adventure and mystery!

The second in the series Crowns and Codebreakers will be out in July 2015.

Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

I'm a big fan...Written with warmth and humour, the characters...are easy to relate to, with a genuinely diverse range of backgrounds, and familiar themes of friendship and families.

Julia Eccleshare, Lovereading4kids

With a great theatre background, this is a gripping adventure of a lost diamond necklace, a false accusation and a desperate race to find out the truth.


Read an extract now.

You might also want to download a poster of the gang, or play with the activity pack. You can get them both below!


Corina Pavlova and the Lion's Roar

Corina Pavlova and the Lion's Roar is a play for 3-6 year olds being performed by the Sherman Cymru, in Cardiff.

Mr McAlistair's Pet Shop is unique, it is the only Pet Shop in the world where the pet chooses you!

So when Mr McAlistair promises Corina Pavlova the perfect pet in time for Christmas, Corina can’t wait to find out what it might be. A kitten? A snake? A zebra, perhaps?

Join Corina for an exciting adventure filled with animals of all shapes and sizes in a festive treat for all the family, full of singing, dancing and roaring!


For ticket availabilty, visit the Sherman Cymru website.

For behind the scenes rehearsal news, follow @CorinaPavlova on Twitter.

Click on the picture to read an interview about the process:


The Great Ice Cream Heist

A warm, funny adventure about sticking up for your friends.

When the McIntyre family moves in next door, Eva is intrigued. But her ever protective Dad isn't sure. Then Eva gets to know Jamie McIntyre and when he is accused of vandalising the local park, Eva is sure he didn't do it. It is up to Eva to stick up for him - but then Jamie disappears. Eva is now in a helterskelter race with a 'borrowed' ice cream van, lots of irate keep-fit enthusiasts and lashings of ice-cream!

Clare Poole, P&G Wells

 A charming story of friendship, trust and family


The Great Ice Cream Heist may be Elen Caldecott's best novel yet. Warm-hearted, moving and never heavy handed, it approaches a range of issues including bereavement, dysfunctional families and children in care with sensitivity and directness.


See some of the images that inspired the story.

The Mystery of Wickworth Manor

Mystery of Wickworth Manor Cover

When Paige and Curtis, two children who are forced together during a school trip, discover a hidden portrait they are determined to find out who the Wickworth Boy really is and the real story behind the painting. Swept up in a rollercoaster of an adventure, an unlikely friendship develops between them, and soon they are working together to expose the truth. Could the boy in the painting really be the ghost who haunts the manor? Or will they find the truth is even more surprising?


Read a sample chapter.

The audio book is available from W F Howes.

Ferelith Hordon, Books For Keeps

'...brisk prose, lively dialogue and adult characters who are satisfyingly stereotypical, will ensure young readers are swept on as the narrative unfolds.' 

Julia Eccleshare

'Exciting with lots of action.'



See some of the objects and images that inspired the story: