In this first of a five book series, all the children at a school are behaving unnaturally well. It transpires that they are being hypnotised by the headmaster who detests disorder. He plans to use a televised school quiz to hypnotise the whole world into unthinking orderliness. The later books follow his various other schemes for achieving the same ends and his defeat by the same group of children, led by Dinah Glass, and Lloyd and Harvey Hunter.

The first story’s premise is a nice twist on the usual school story: the new girl at school finds everyone unusually well-behaved. The stories are well-enough written but pretty average fare of the children-vs-baddies variety requiring a certain suspension of disbelief. (Is it possible that no adult has seen anything wrong with the school?) There is a nice combination of family and friendship. Dinah’s arrival as the Hunter’s foster-sister at the beginning of the first book is presumably a plot device to introduce a newcomer to the school. However the relationships between her, the boys and their friends, who together fight against the Headmaster, are nicely handled.

Tim Golden is a computer programmer in London. He also is the editor of the Good-to-Read website.