REVIEWS  
Recommended reading for Irish dancers,
may well be the Liffey Rivers mystery books
by Brenna Briggs, all centered on the world
of Irish dancing --the perfect presents for
your Irish dancing kids, nephews, nieces or
grandchildren this Christmas!

The 13-year-old heroine of this girl
detective series, Liffey Rivers, is what
Briggs terms a 'tween'; a little girl who wants
to be a big girl. The Sligo author developed
this series of children's novels as she felt
that "mysteries unravelling within the
backdrop of Irish dance competitions
(feiseanna) would be a novelty and greatly
appealing, not only to Irish dancers, but also
fans of girl detectives like Nancy Drew."

Liffey Rivers and the Mystery of the Winking
Judge is set in London and Dublin. While
touring the National Portrait Gallery in
London, Liffey discovers that the crowning
portrait of Queen Elizabeth I is a fake, and
begins to unravel the mystery at an Irish
dance competition in Ireland.

Liffey Rivers and the Mystery of the
SparklingSolo Dress Crown unfolds in St.
Louis when Liffey foils an international
criminal plot and introduces young readers
to social issues such as Native American
Indian injustice and conflict diamonds.

In the third book in the series, Liffey Rivers
and the Secret of the Mountain of the Moon,
Liffey experiences the tug of the Celtic
Blood Moon when, after dancing at her first
feis in Ireland, she observes an
extraordinary phenomenon directly above
Queen Maeve's cairn on the summit of
Knocknarea (the Mountain of the Moon) in
County Sligo.  

You might compare these books to
Enid
Blyton's adventure stories, if you throw in a
lot more reels and hornpipes. Each one is a
delightful read for dancers, lovers of Ireland
and lovers of a good mystery, and a great
way for kids to learn a bit more about Irish
and other cultures.  
Today, November 11th is Veterans
Day, I have off work – so, I thought I
would read a couple of chapters of
Liffey Rivers before I went to sleep.  
I started at 11:30pm and at 1:40AM I
finished reading book 3.

What a good story... As each
chapter finished I just had to find
out what was in the next!! What a
total surprise!!

I loved it, one more time and can
hardly wait for the next one.  So
please, make it quick!!!

            Diane Byrnes
                  WEDO
Echoes of Erin: Pittsburgh, PA
From the National Portrait Gallery in London to the hills of
Ireland, excitement and intrigue follow Liffey Rivers wherever
she goes. Liffey Rivers and the Mystery of the Winking
Judge is a gripping read with a heroine who never loses
sight of the ultimately important things - her first solo dress
and that all important Feis!

The perfect read for any Irish dancer who can empathise
with Liffey’s instantly likeable character and the trials that
she faces as it seems that everything is just determined to
come between her and the Beltra feis.

This is one to share with your non Irish dancing mates as
well; Liffey Rivers will appeal to just about any teenager. The
star stumbles easily into trouble and out of it just as
effortlessly. Dealing along the way with everything, from the
loss of a parent, to looking stupid in front of the cute
security guard!

This is the second Liffey Rivers Irish dancing mystery that
will keep you guessing right through to the end, starring a
quirky Irish dancer who should not be underestimated! We
love Liffey and we love her dad, the long suffering Robert
Rivers. This book has got it all, mystery, intrigue, comedy,
even a history lesson and, of course – Irish dancing! Bring
on more Liffey Rivers
adventures!
                                        By Ellie P
                 IRISH DANCING AND CULTURE MAGAZINE
Irish dancers and those who are fans of the dance will love
Brenna Briggs' book Liffey Rivers and the Mystery of the
Sparkling Solo Dress Crown! Non-dancers immersed in the
world of Irish dance shows, as are so many of us here in the
Celtic Cafe community, will appreciate not only the glimpse
into the world of feiseanna through the eyes of the thirteen
year old heroine, but the glossary at the end of this thoroughly
enjoyable little mystery novel. Although written to appeal
mostly to 9-to 13-year-old girls, adults reading the book can
enjoy the obvious satirical elements throughout the story
.

Reading the book recalled for this reader the
Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Mysteries once
borrowed from Bray Carnegie
Library...pacy,well-written book. This reader is a
wee bit older but still enjoyed it immensely!
                Eibhlin Maceochaidh
Writing Notes From the
Sligo Arts Office
Focusing on 13 year old Irish dancer Liffey at a feis in St.
Louis, at first readers believe Liffey is like any other 13
year old girl with an overactive imagination --but the
more you read and are brought into Liffey's world the
more you realise that she may just be on to something!

If you're after an early night this may not be the book to
pick up--once you've started reading it you'll find it very
hard to put down! As well as the mystery Liffey is trying to
solve, it also tells the story of something that every
dancer will be able to relate to: wanting to win her first
gold medal! It's definitely a good read for any Irish
dancer.  
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"...all of you who enjoyed Nancy
Drew, Trixie Belden and Hardy Boys
stories as a child, you will really love
these books – even as an adult!"
        Maureen Smith
Celtic Women International
              Chicago
This series of  "Tween" books by
Brenna Briggs has everything: a
great mystery, Irish culture, and
plenty of Irish dancing. Brenna
Briggs writes with flair and passion,
and her novels fill a yawning gaping
hole in literature for Irish-American
girls. Write on, Ms. Briggs! We
can't wait for the rest of Liffey's
adventures!        
                BellaOnline
            Irish Culture Editor







Liffey Rivers and the Mystery of the
Sparkling Solo Dress Crown by Brenna
Briggs, is the first book in a series
about Liffey, a spunky, quirky girl who
dreams of qualifying for an Irish dance
solo dress, and eats spaghetti and
meatballs the night before every
competition. Because of her
overbearing personality, no one can
anticipate what she will do next.

The author pulled me into two new
worlds that, as a reader, I may never
otherwise explore. The first is the
world of Irish dance. Second, Briggs
brought me into the city of St. Louis,
Missouri, giving me a feel for a place
I've  never been.

Liffey lets her imagination run a bit
wild, which makes her the perfect
sleuth. She notices clues that other
people might not even wonder about.

I can see where Liffey’s looniness
might be hereditary. I laughed when I
heard that her aunt gave a cheer
during Liffey’s competition:“Kick ‘em
high, kick ‘em low, go, go, go.” Even
though I enjoyed Liffey’s
eccentricities, her daydreams and a
few stray points of view switches gave
me whiplash.

I felt pity for Liffey that she was always
left alone at competitions, and had no
mother to care for her.

...Liffey internalizes about her fears
and dreams in a way that most girls
her age can relate to. She wants a
solo dress more than anything. She
draws her own designs for a dress,
notices other girls’ dresses and
daydreams about it every few minutes.

The verdict:

Think Nancy Drew meets the Irish
dance world. Anyone who loves Irish
dance will enjoy reading about Liffey’s
adventures.