New children’s book is based on experiences of young girl growing up in Bedford

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Author’s father owned cycle shop in Midland Road

A new children’s book based on a young girl’s experiences of growing up in Bedford, is to be published this summer.

Author Mary Moloney’s debut novel, Pippa and Friends Investigate: The Mystery of the Missing Teapot, is a detective story for children, which attempts to recapture the spirit of The Famous Five novels.

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Mary, a university administrator from Bedford, said: “I’ve always loved the work of Enid Blyton, and E Nesbit and feel adventure-based children’s stories are more important than ever in these difficult times. Children are often accused of spending too much time on their phones.

Mary's debut novel will be published in the summerMary's debut novel will be published in the summer
Mary's debut novel will be published in the summer

“This, I believe, is unfair. Young people love to be sociable, and texting, TikTok and Snapchat are the modern ways to communicate but equally, I truly believe young people still want to spend time with their friends outside. Pippa and Friends Investigate: The Mystery of the Missing Teapot is specifically designed to cater for these needs.”

The novel’s main character, Emma, is based on Mary’s mother who attended the Dame Alice Harpur School, now Bedford Girls’ School. As a child, she also had a poodle called Pippa and many of the events in the novel are based on her own childhood experiences.

Mary’s father owned the bicycle shop, Michael’s Cycles, in Midland Road, Bedford and her mother later taught French in most of Bedford’s schools.

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Mary added: “I have always wanted to write a novel, so in the spirit of Pippa and friends, I thought why not get started? The book is crammed full of memories from childhood. “Set in the early 1970s I would hope it has a cross-generation appeal. I do appreciate technology changes but, in my heart, I feel that the stories that make us laugh, cry and excited can still resonate with audiences today.”

The novel is set in North Wales in 1973. Emma, and her trumpet-playing brother Edward, live with their eccentric grandparents while their parents are overseas. When eggs are stolen from farmer Richard, Emma sets out to solve the mystery with her three friends and Pippa, her beloved poodle.

The book, published by Candy Jar Books, will be officially launched by the Welsh Book Council in early summer 2024.

Click here for an exclusive advance edition.

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