The Sign of the Black Dagger

Joan Lingard

Available to buy

Quick Look

  • Two sets of children must solve two seemingly related mysteries in this novel, which is set in Edinburgh's old town in two time periods
  • Lingard brilliantly recreates 1790s Edinburgh with authentic details and wonderfully drawn characters
  • Boys and girls alike will love this intriguing historical mystery with a twist!
  • Cover designed by Astrid Jaekel, winner of the inaugural Kelpies Design & Illustration Prize

Four children, two hundred years apart, must uncover the secret of the Black Dagger in this fast-paced mystery by award-winning author Joan Lingard. Set in and around Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

198 x 130 mm
Floris Books
Age Range:
From 8 to 12 years
208 pages
Publication date:
17 Jul 2014
2nd edition


One day, Will and Lucy's dad just ... vanishes.

They have no idea why he's disappeared until a creepy stranger reveals their dad was keeping a BIG secret. Then there's the second clue: an old diary they find hidden in the walls of their Royal Mile house, with a sinister black dagger on it.

Will and Lucy must solve a mystery that's over two hundred years old if they want to find their dad and bring him home. But can they find the answers in time to rescue him?

Award-winning author Joan Lingard weaves a fast-paced mystery set in and around Edinburgh's Royal Mile. The story alternates between Will and Lucy, searching for their dad in the present day, and their ancestors William and Louisa, struggling to save their own father while following the sign of the black dagger and uncovering a plot to kill a French aristocrat.


'This book is a joy to hold as a great deal of care has gone into its production, and even more of a joy to read. Joan Lingard has a stellar reputation and the moment you start reading the door closes and you are in the story.'
-- Books for Keeps

'This book is quite mysterious, yet adventurous as there is detective work. For me it really felt like I was there watching the action.'
-- Kobe, Currie Community High pupil, Teen Titles

'I think the characters were interesting and I liked the connection between the two time-frames... This book would appeal to readers who like a bit of adventure.'
-- Samuel, Currie Community High pupil, Teen Titles


Joan Lingard (1932-2022) was born in Edinburgh (in a taxi on the Royal Mile) but grew up in Belfast. She wrote for both adults and young people, and was perhaps best known for her Kevin and Sadie series set in Northern Ireland, the first of which was The Twelfth Day of July. Her writing received many prizes both at home and abroad, and in 1999 she was awarded an MBE for Services to Children's Literature.


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