Book Review: Rags to Riches : The Case of the Hire Shop Fiend

This is an unusual book, but really good fun. The basic story is that the clothes in a hire shop come to life and develop their own characters. There is a murder, and the deer-stalker outfit is called in by the others to do his Sherlock Homes bit.  If you want to know who did it, you will have to read the book.

Why is the book unusual? In addition to the fantasy of the plot, it is all in verse, which takes the story forward at a nice pace. It is full of pictures, and about thirty pages long, so it’s the right length for a bedtime story, and although it’s about a murder, it isn’t scary and ends up happily.

Our readers thought it was excellent. They loved the illustrations and the story made them laugh out loud. Very entertaining for children and parents alike, and they didn’t guess who dunnit.

It’s also unusual because Richard Roberts was inspired to write the book to attract attention to bi-polar disorder, having thought about the roles which people play and their changing moods. The link is not really apparent to readers, but the problem is certainly one which merits attention. Richard’s brother suffers bi-polar disorder, and he hopes that the book will give publicity to MDF: the Bi-Polar Organisation. There is a web version of the book on and you can link to the Organisation as well on

Roberts, R. (2006) Rags to Riches: The Case of the Hire Shop Fiend MDF : The Bi-Polar Organisation
ISBN 10 0-9553884-1-4
ISBN 13 978-0-9553884-1-5

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