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Skulduggery Pleasant  : The Skulduggery Pleasant : Book 1 - Derek Landy

Skulduggery Pleasant

The Skulduggery Pleasant : Book 1

Paperback Published: 1st January 2008
ISBN: 9780007241620
Number Of Pages: 384
For Ages: 9+ years old

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Meet the great Skulduggery Pleasant: wise-cracking detective, powerful magician, master of dirty tricks and burglary (in the name of the greater good, of course).

Oh yeah. And dead.

Then there's his sidekick, Stephanie. She's… well, she's a twelve-year-old girl. With a pair like this on the case, evil had better watch out…

“So you won't keep anything from me again?"
He put his hand to his chest. "Cross my heart and hope to die."
"Okay then. Though you don't actually have a heart," she said.
"I know."
"And technically, you've already died."
"I know that too."
"Just so we're clear."

Stephanie's uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn't fiction.

Pursued by evil forces intent on recovering a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source – the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard.

When all hell breaks loose, it's lucky for Skulduggery that he's already dead. Though he's about to discover that being a skeleton doesn't stop you from being tortured, if the torturer is determined enough. And if there's anything Skulduggery hates, it's torture… Will evil win the day? Will Stephanie and Skulduggery stop bickering long enough to stop it? One thing's for sure: evil won't know what's hit it.

Industry Reviews

Hugely enjoyable -- a thrill-a-minute adventure.' Jonathan Stroud 'It's exciting, pacy, nicely handled and fun. I sincerely hope Landy revisits these characters.' Philip Ardagh, Guardian 'A gripping debut.' Phil Hogan, Observer 'Skulduggery Pleasant serves up a thoroughly satisfying blend of humour, magic and adventure. Once you've met Stephanie and Skullduggery, you'll be clamouring for a sequel.' Rick Riordan "A remarkably accomplished debut with wonderful dialogue." Robert Dunbar, Irish Times "[Landy's] fight scenes are perfectly pitched. His characters are exceptionally well drawn and delightfully colourful! Reading [this book] is like riding a rollercoaster." Irish Independent "Landy's witty style will win him fans of all ages! With writing of this standard, a rattling plot and definite potential for cross-over appeal, it's a good job Harry's [Potter] resigning before he's forcibly retired." Irish Mail on Sunday "Humour and magic combine in this thrilling adventure." Waterstone's Books Quarterly "!people in the book world are raving about this book." Glasgow Herald "It's pacy, it's funny, it's irreverent. The relationship between Skulduggery and Stephanie is tremendously strong. Stephanie is a splendid character -- blunt, logical and outspoken! We enjoyed Skkulduggery Pleasant. Muchly. Roll on volume two!" The Book Bag "A rip-roaring adventure." Irish Sunday Independent "Full of black humour, super powers, mysteries, murder and mayhem." Carousel



This is probably the most gripping book I've ever read. And when I go to around the place everyone is either shoving their faces in the book and the other ones from the series or seeing it poking out of there bags it's incredible reading this amazing book and even if you an older reader you should TOTALLY!! read this great book!! :)

Queensland, AUS




This Young Adult work of art is a joy to read, even for adults. Make that, especially for adults. It is obviously written for younger readers but the relatively simpler plot is not without its surprises and twists as you find yourself laughing and racing through it quicker than Michael Schumacher in a hot Ferrari F1 car. It starts with a death. Well, a funeral, really. And then we meet the book's presumed heroine, young Stephanie. Just twelve years old, she has just lost her much loved Uncle, and finds herself destined to be a very wealthy young lady when she turns 18. But that won't stop the baddies trying to get to her, and to get to the house of her Uncle before then. So we meet a particular violent, vicious and desperate baddie in chapter three, and by the end of this chapter, Young Stephanie has made a new acquaintance in the form of an undead warlock private detective (Skulduggery himself, no less...), who is particularly well versed in the ancient lore of Gods and beings calling themselves 'The Ancient Ones'. This is where we are gifted with the story's rich and very impressive depth. There was an ancient, ancient battle (called THE SECRET WAR) which lasted for centuries, and with the boss of the baddies calling himself Mevolent the Sorcerer, and (finally) something referred to as the Sceptre of the Ancients has reared its ugly head on the modern day grapevine just to keep things interesting. One could criticise the book for its unrealistic portrayal of death, and the grieving process, but then I remind myself the book is written for children. And I move on from that thought. There is plenty of depth to this amazingly successful tome. And plenty of stuff like dry wit, and sarcasm, and atmosphere, and fights, and chases, and escapes, and magic (of *course* there's magic...) and well, heaps of other stuff too. Like plot twists and scary bits and car chases. And magic. And spells and learning the difference between Elementary magic (the good guys, generally) and the Adepts (aggressors). And then there are the characters themselves. We can't very well have a book without characters. But these characters are cool. Super cool, even. Their names are brilliantly crafted - just look at the book's title, as an example. And then there is Miss China Sorrows. She wants to be your friend, she is adorably beautiful, but for goodness sake, don't tell your name. She can't be trusted, according to Mr Pleasant. And there are plenty more, but I will let you find them yourself. So essentially the book is about fun. But its also about making friends. And learning who to trust. And growing up. And life, and love and death. And learning how to cope with the lot of it. 'So do I like it then?' I hear you ask. 'Just a little bit,' I answer, after a moment's hesitation. 'Well, actually, more than a little bit. I like it a lot. Lots and lots and lots.'

Adelaide SA


Bought as a gift for my grandson


Speedy delivery



A modern magical mystery


A great imaginative read that mum found for me. Good character descriptions that capture the audience and keeps us interested in the whole journey into a hidden and modern magical fantasy.



Fast-paced YA Fantasy Thriller


My son put this book on my bedside table some months ago, saying, 'You must read this, mum!' I finally picked it up and enjoyed it immensely. The pace is extra-fast, the characters extra-cartoonish, and the denouement just what I expected, but all done with so much wit, verve and dry humour that I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series.



Skulduggery Pleasant

4.4 5


ISBN: 9780007241620
ISBN-10: 0007241623
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant
Audience: Children
For Ages: 9+ years old
For Grades: 5 - 8
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 1st January 2008
Publisher: HASKELL
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.8  x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.27

Derek Landy

About the Author

Derek Landy lives near Dublin. Before writing his children's story about a sharply-dressed skeleton detective, he wrote the screenplays for a zombie movie and a murderous horror film.

Visit Derek Landy's Booktopia Author Page