No One Leaves the Castle

No One Leaves the Castle

Read Time: 3 Minutes

I stumbled upon this one while looking to see what the narrator, Jessica Almasy, had done recently. A brief skim of the blurb later and it sounded fun, so I grabbed it. What I didn’t know was that it’s actually aimed at the 8-12yo market. I have zero regrets. This was such a fun book!

“No One Leaves the Castle” by Christopher Healy is a humorous whodunnit type murder-mystery where two young go-getters must work out who the murderer is before the castle squishes them and everyone in it to the size of a pea.

The Lilac and her bard, Dulcinetta, are two 14-year-olds intent of bluffing their way to fame and fortune. The Lilac is a bounty hunter, and if you believe the songs by her bard, the greatest one in all the land. The unfortunately named Gibbonsnood Flornt, long-suffering butler to Baron Angbar who rules the land, believes it and signs The Lilac and Dulcinetta on to help solve the mystery of who stole the Emerald Axe of Angbar.

What starts as a simple whodunnit soon rolls into a mystery of epic proportions when a body is discovered, and they are trapped within the castle by an impenetrable magic bubble. Gathered together with the Baron and Baroness Angbar and their family, a rival Baron, a cook, and an etiquette trainer among others, everyone is a suspect.

And they are all extremely suspect. Each have something to hide, ranging from the mundane to the ridiculous. But with red herrings at every turn, will the plucky young heroine and her sidekick solve this mystery?

The plot is fast paced as The Lilac and Dulcinetta race against time. The bubble trapping them in the castle is slowly shrinking and will crush them all if they can’t solve the murder. Apart from the obvious murder (not graphic, because it’s for kids), this is a fun, clean story filled with genuine laugh-out-loud moments.

Narrator Jessica Almasy brings this book alive with her enthusiastic reading and a wide and entertaining range of voices. From excitable kids to surly chefs, shady wizards and grumpy Barons, her voice suits this well. No productions issues that I noticed; a clean read all the way through.

I’d recommend this story to anyone in a heartbeat. Not just kids, but full-grown adults can have a great time with this story. The cast of characters are so much fun, all with their own agenda which keeps you guessing though to the end, and lots of laughs along the way.

For the grown-ups, there are some “adult” themes like blackmail, classism, politics, and the obvious murder, but none of it done in a way I’d be worried about my 10-year-old listening to. Even the murder is mostly just a dead person, nothing gruesome to keep your kids awake at night.

So whether you’re a parent seeking a family-friendly audiobook or an adult craving a whimsical adventure, this tale is sure to charm its way into your heart. Fortunately, I have kids that like audiobooks too, so I’ll get to listen to this again real soon!


Humorous, Mystery, Fairy Tales, Audiobooks for Children, Whodunnit, Wizards
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