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AboutBad Machinery tells the stories of three schoolgirl sleuths and three schoolboy investigators, attending Griswalds Grammar School in Tackleford, UK. While they are not exactly enemies, a mixture of pride, mistrust and pig-headedness keeps them at cross purposes. A medium-sized West Yorkshire city set among rolling hills, Tackleford has a long history of mystery. Since the industrial revolution it has been a hotbed of problems, issues, manifestations, bad deeds, schemes and trouble. Griswalds is in the leafy suburb of Keane End. Nothing else is certain.
Raised poor but extremely bright, Shauna is the first of her family to go to a school where you have to wear a blazer. Her best friend since the age of 3 is Charlotte Grote. Shauna lives with her mother, her stepfather Dan and her little half-brother Humphrey.
Charlotte is loud, silly and likeable. She doesn't always know the difference between a good idea and a bad idea. Charlotte (or sometimes "Lottie") lives with her estate agent mother. Her elder sister has left home. She has a small dog.
The product of an extremely liberal upbring, Mildred is not necessarily bad, but she is not good at doing as she's told. Mildred shares with Charlotte a ferocious appetite for gossip.
Jack is a dreamer, he is tall for his age, quiet and shy. He likes football stickers, popular music, drawing, and staring into the middle distance. He doesn't understand black and white films.
Linton is an achiever. His mother is a primary school teacher, his father is a police superintendent. Linton will not rest until he has righted every wrong. He is a little too sharp for his age. Linton has just discovered sarcasm.
Perpetually bright-eyed and optimistic, Sonny is a good fellow to have around. Full of kindness and old-fashioned manners. It is impossible to get a comb through Sonny's hair. Sonny lives in wealth and splendour with his parents and his little sister Cecile. He speaks fluent French.