Ruby Redfort — Look into my Eyes

8 Sep 2012 at 19:19 (Random Randomness) (, )

I can see two obvious things that are wrong with this book, just from the cover:

  1. The first Ruby book is supposed to be called There was a Girl Called Ruby
  2. The Ruby books are supposed to be written by Patricia F. Maplin Stacey

Reading further in:

  1. Ruby Redfort is 13. She is supposed to start her spy career at age 11
  2. I’m sure there were one or two more, but I’ve forgotten

Now, you see, whenever I read Clarice Bean’s talking about Ruby Redfort, I shall feel slightly disorientated that she is reading a different set of Ruby books from the rest of us. It’s a shame.

On to the book itself. Reading some of the reviews on Amazon, I was expecting to be disappointed, but you know, the book is actually all right. Of course, the Ruby books were originally a parody of the Nancy Drew school of child spy fiction (although I hate to say, I didn’t get the Nancy Drew/Clancy Crew joke until Spells Trouble), so how did Ruby make the transition from joke to serious fiction?

Firstly, this was never meant to be another Clarice Bean. None of the observational humour; this book is supposed to be proper spy fiction. Besides the obvious (surely parental consent is needed when employing minors?), Child manages to pull it off quite well. Don’t expect anything grandly dramatic; this is a child’s book after all (that wasn’t meant to be a pun, but go ahead and read it as one, if you wish. I did :D). Considering how comic-book silly the villains were, as in Clarice Bean, I think Child actually did quite a good job in bringing them into the ‘serious’ version. At the same time, it was always going to be hard to take someone with a name like Count von Viscount seriously. However, it could have been worse.

The plot, as I mentioned, was nothing special, but Child’s writing style saves the day. Even though the storyline was typical, I still kept wanting to read more. Ruby, Clancy and Hitch pretty much keep their personalities from the Clarice Bean books. You have the ridiculous spy gadgets, silly-named villains and code cracking (it’s really not that hard). It’s sure to keep kids entertained.

Am I looking forward to the next book? Yeah. Am I excited? Not really. It was a good read, but nothing to amaze. I think I still like the Clarice version of Ruby Redfort better. It’s just so much funnier.

However, I can name one person who is looking forward to borrowing my copy.


That blessed code

I don’t know what the big deal is with that, really. Yeah, it’s a pain, but she does tell you from the start it’s a Vigenere cipher, so all you really have to do is find out how it works (Wikipedia will tell you), and work out what the key is. If you have the paperback version of the book, you’ll see that the word UIFF is repeated on the cover, followed by a number. If you can work out that UIFF decrypts as RULE (highlight to see the word), then you already have the first four letters of the key, and if you read clue #2, you know the key is twice as nice as a single doughnut, then you can easily work out what the word is.

However, if you’re lazy, you can use Sharky’s Vigenere decrypter to do the hard work for you. But you still need to work out the key.

PS The first message from Clancy is something to do with hives and tomatoes.

(Vsljzyvzs, hfcv. Aote M gc ywpvbhbjyk icl zzy? Wvy lpczcle tw GCOCWI. Gib!)


  1. asfdsjghdfjghskd said,

    dont hate ruby

  2. Miki said,

    I still don’t get it what is the key and how do I work it out and how do I put it into the sharky thing?!

    • Silver Arrows said,

      Okay, baby steps:
      UIFF1, UIFF2, etc etc. Think of what Ruby Redfort is keen on.

      Any ideas?


      UIFF decodes as RULE.

      Reverse this using the Vigenere cypher like this:
      Go here:
      In the first box, enter UIFF
      In the second box, enter RULE

      Then hit DECODE.

      You’ll get DOUB.

      Now think of a word to do with TWICE AS NICE that starts with the letters DOUB.

      If you still can’t work it out, then I give up.

  3. Imogen said,

    Hi I have just finished reading all the ruby redfort books ( so far ) I have injoyed them so much you are a fabolous writer and as long as I live I will never stop reading your books. 😊 📖📚

    • Silver Arrows said,

      Wow! ِAwesome! Now I just have to find out what books I’ve written! I bet they are really good 😉

  4. Pickles said,

    That is so offensive! I love Ruby Redfort and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. and it did say 13 years old in my Clarice Bean books. Lauren Child, don’t listen to them! You’re doing a great job, keep it up with the next book! (I can’t wait until it comes out)

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