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About this book

Elizabethan Mysteries

  • Ben Button is caught in a daring dash for buried treasure in the fourth of the young actor’s adventure mysteries set in the cut-throat world of Elizabethan England.
  • With internet links to find out more about life in Elizabethan times.

Elizabethan London is dirty, murky and dangerous, so boy-actor Ben can’t wait to escape the city and visit his family. But their village has suffered a series of violent robberies, and before long Ben is drawn into a manhunt for a murderer, determined to uncover riches hidden nearby. Now Ben must unravel the clues and find the treasure…before it falls into the wrong hands.

John Pilkington

John Pilkington

John Pilkington worked at various jobs – in a factory, in offices, in a research laboratory, on a farm, and as a rock guitarist in several bands – before realizing he wanted to write. He took a degree in Drama and English, acted and directed in a theatre company touring schools, and then began his professional writing career with radio plays in the 1980s.

He has since written plays for the theatre and television scripts for the BBC. He is also the author of a series of historical crime novels, and a non-fiction book, "A Survival Guide for Writers". "Rogues’ Gold" is his first children’s book.

Visit the author’s website,, for more information.

Press Reviews

London in Elizabethan times is dirty and dangerous. Ben Button, a boy actor with a theatrical company, is tired of the hustle and bustle and is eager to return home to rural Hornsey. However Ben is soon drawn into a manhunt for a murderer and he has to unearth the mystery of the stranger and the treasure he seeks. This fantastic adventure is part of a rip-roaring series in which Ben takes centre stage.
Ed's Reading Room blog
I liked the way the writer wrote this book. It had a good sense of adventure and I would recommend it to someone wanting a fast-paced read.
Teen Titles - reviewed by high school student Mark Devine
Thief! is the fourth of John Pilkington’s enjoyable ‘Elizabethan Mysteries. The boy actor hero, the excitements of the theatre, an intriguing mystery – readers familiar with the genre might well recall the stirring tales of Geoffrey Trease. It is no mean compliment to say that Ben Button’s adventures stand the comparison...Cliff-hanging conclusions to chapters drive a reader on.
Books for Keeps Magazine
This book is an exhilarating novel about a boy named Ben Button who returns from his life as an actor in London to his home village of Hornsey...Thief is a book about criminals and make-believe. It is probably for an age group of 9-12.
Cork Evening Echo

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Also by John Pilkington

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