England, 1976. Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, 10-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands. And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined.

This is a book that I’m very late on reviewing. Released in 2016, it became a Sunday Times bestseller and appeared in bookshop windows everywhere. Somewhat put off by the title, I never picked it up until now. But I’m so glad that I finally did.

Cannon’s debut novel about two young girls trying to solve a mystery – and searching for God along the way – is heartfelt, warming and very enjoyable. We experience much of the story through the eyes of 10-year-old Grace, and her narration is both funny and unexpected.

Although Grace is our main guide through this book, the entire cast of characters is stellar. Each one has secrets they are determined to keep hidden but, on The Avenue, secrets have a habit of coming out. Curtains twitch and rumours spread quickly. The quirky men and women living on the cul-de-sac are each misfits in their own way and, in the pressure of an intense heatwave, their secrets begin to come to light.

The writing is both warm and piercingly sharp. At times it requires some suspension of disbelief as Grace says or thinks things that seem highly unrealistic for a 10-year-old, but overall Cannon does a fantastic job of capturing the amusing characters populating life in suburbia.

The central mystery is the missing Mrs Creasy, who disappeared one day and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Her husband waits at the bus stop for her every day, hoping she will return, but several of the neighbours suspect something sinister has happened to her. There are numerous other mysteries to keep the reader intrigued, including a baby who went missing nine years previously and an unsolved case of arson. All the pieces fit together neatly, the mysteries solved in a satisfying yet never predictable way.

Cannon excels at describing small, everyday events imbued with meaning, creating a picture of ordinary tragedies everyone will be able to relate to.

I really enjoyed this book and would highly, highly recommend it. It’s the kind of book that’s best read in a patch of sunlight, perhaps with a cup of tea close at hand.