Clare Havens

'The streets were dark with something more than night…' Raymond Chandler

Bella Street

When twelve year old skateboard champ Bella Street’s mother leaves her for the summer with the female head of the largest criminal gang on the East Coast Bella knows it’s going to mean trouble – lots of trouble. Doc Gutson, the most ruthless and vengeful mobster in New York City and her band of misfit goons, Johnny Sequins and Pauly Three Toes, are out to steal a top secret formula which will make them millions! It’s up to Bella and her friend, tech-genius and wannabe detective Felix Samson, to outwit and outrun the Doc and her henchmen in adventures that take them from Manhattan to London and finally to Australia. Bella and Felix have to find the answers to two questions: what exactly is Excalibur and who, if anyone, can they trust?

The Complete Bella Street trilogy includes: The Secret Formula, Doc Gutson’s Revenge and The Fat Lady Sings


My love of film noir and the novels of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler inspired my Bella Street Mystery series. I am a huge fan of Humphrey Bogart and love the wry humor that he and William Powell (in his role as Nick Charles in The Thin Man films) bring to the world of 1930s gangster films and film noir. I wanted to combine my love of noir, my love of Manhattan (where I lived for many years) and my desire to write for a tween audience into something that I named TWEEN NOIR. I softened the noir elements for a younger audience through adding a faintly ridiculous high fashion element. My Bella Street Mysteries series has been described as ‘Derek Zoolander meets Sam Spade’ and, I must say, that is a pretty accurate description but I would add it’s also like Cruella De Vil meets Nancy Drew! The books are thrilling, suspenseful and funny. I absolutely adore the illustrations of Katy Jackson and feel so privileged to have had her illustrate the cover of the Bella Street Mysteries Trilogy, available now at Amazon.

The first two books in the series, The Secret Formula and Doc Gutson’s Revenge, were finalists in the Sydney Local Writer’s Word festival and the third book in the series,  The Fat Lady Sings has just been published.

The Secret Formula – 

Beneath the bright lights of New York City, gangsters and criminals scurry about like cockroaches on a day old pizza. The Gutson Gang has their sights set on stealing the secret formula for a perfume that makes the wearer irresistible. Doc Gutson, Johnny Sequins and Pauly Three Toes also want, cold, hard revenge and will stop at nothing to get it. But standing in their way are Bella Street, a cool, skateboarding champ and tech genius Felix Samson, a wannabe detective. Can Bella and Felix stop the evil trio, or will they both end up in the East River wearing cement shoes?

Doc Gutson’s Revenge 

Things aren’t going too well for Doc Gutson — incarcerated (‘sent up the river’ as Felix would say) in St Agatha’s Prison for Wayward Women in upstate New York, the Doc has had her work cut out for her making her Gang the biggest and meanest in the tri-state area. One thing keeps her going — her hatred of the Street family and her burning thirst for REVENGE. Blissfully unaware of the Doc’s plans for escape and retribution, Bella is enjoying a vacation in England with her mom, Emerald, and Professor Mortimer, who is working on another great invention. Things soon start to go wrong with Bella’s plans, however, and before long she is fighting for her life. Can Bella and Felix track down the mysterious ‘Excalibur’ and outwit the Doc for a second time? It seems as likely as finding a snowball in the Sahara… The Doc wants revenge and it’s not gonna be pretty…

The Fat Lady Sings 

Bella Street and her tech-wizard friend Felix Samson have been placed in the Witness Protection Program to keep them out of Doc Gutson’s evil clutches but the Doc has hired the worst of the worst, Marky Blue-Eyes and Carlos the Moose, to track them down. Will Bella and Felix manage to stay one step ahead of the Doc and her henchmen? Will Bella and Felix ever find out what Excalibur is? What will Johnny Sequins and Pauly Three-Toes do if the Doc finally goes off the deep end? All good questions. One thing’s certain, it won’t be over ’til the fat lady sings…

Sydney Writers’ Word Festival finalist!

Reviews for Bella Street


Reviews for The Secret Formula:

I thought I was tired of reading mysteries until I read this book. I LOVED it and wish there was a movie. I loved Bella Street because she was clever and smart. I really like how the author told this story. It was fun and interesting and VERY suspenseful. I’m going to tell my friends about this book!’ Lindzey1702

‘…it definitely deserves a five star rating it was a great children’s book and anybody would love it kid or not’ Brad Taylor

I think tweens who like fun adventure mysteries will love this book.’ kdf 333

‘A ripper of a thriller for kids!’ Irina Dunn, Director, Australian Writers Network

‘…it’s a quick read, the pace of the book is great and its full of action. The author did well with developing characters without slowing the movement of the plot and I very much like following the plotline from the perspective of both the protagonist and antagonist.
The author doesn’t hide anything from the reader either, she establishes the storyline early (the reader knows things that Bella has yet to figure out until later) but still adds in twists and suspense toward the finish. I’m impressed with the development of Felix and the Professor as interesting and endearing supplemental characters, and even Dick Gutson and the glimpse into his relationship with his sister.
Well done! Definitely a good read for an adolescent interested in a mystery/suspense story, and it does have a ‘noir’ feel about it, especially because of Felix’s unique interest in criminal behavior. Well done!’ 
Shinwell Johnson

‘This book is great fun, and while the circumstances of the story (the very wealthy, the gangsters and the evil scientist) are a world away from the normal life of your average 13 year old the characters are still relatable and you get a real connection with Bella in particular. Based in Manhattan where you get a taste of the city life with Clare Havens’ descriptions you can almost say you have been there. This story is fast paced and full of action as the story unravels. The characters are great, not too serious but deep enough to have an impact. If you are after a great good guy versus bad guy story with mystery, a bit of crazy science, a couple of goons, brave and clued up kids and a whole lot of trouble, you will not be disappointed with A Bella Street Mystery – The Secret Formula.  I found myself staying up too late to read more!’ Angela Hall, Bug in a Book

Anna Branford, author of the bestselling Violet Mackerel books said ‘Bella Street and the Secret Formula was such a fun read! The pace is wonderfully fast and the writing so energetic … A very enjoyable story!’

Maggie Topkis, Founder of the awesome Felony and Mayhem Press and Co-Owner of ‘Partners and Crime’ Bookstore in NYC said ‘Charming … I recommend it.

And best of all, 12 year old Jolie Wilson said ‘Best book I’ve ever read! I LOVED it and wish there was a movie … VERY suspenseful.’

Reviews for Doc Gutson’s Revenge:

‘Awesome story. I loved the first book but I adore this book. I can’t wait until the third book comes out.’ Isabella Murphy

‘The chase is riveting…The plot’s twists and turns are fabulous, and the way this book finished, there will definitely be another! I just hope it’s not too far away! Brenda

‘My middle-grade daughter is such a fan of the Bella Street Mysteries that I had to read this book. It’s laugh-out-loud funny with a lot of scary thrills and a fun mystery to solve. The eponymous character Bella is a hoot with a lot of spunk to make adventurous girls cheer. I have to admit my favorite character is Emerald, Bella’s mother. She cracks me up.

LOVE this series–and not because it shares my name. That’s a happy coincidence. Looking forward to many more Bella Street adventures!’ bestselling author Bella Street (no relation!)

‘My kids couldn’t put it down… Would highly recommend.’ David Luke

‘A really good follow up to the first book in the series. A very enjoyable read with lots of great characters and twists and turns. I can’t wait for the next one!’ spf4214

‘If you want some excitement this season, this is definitely a must have! I really was excited by this book and can’t wait for the next one! ‘Andrew

‘Good for fourth to seventh graders – AWESOME BOOK’ Happiness

Reviews for The Fat Lady Sings:

‘In a world of gloomy YA dystopia, it is so great to read an all-out-blast of a story that’s clever and positive and fun. Havens delivers a fitting culmination in the final (?) book of the series, leaving the reader wanting to start all over from the beginning and re-experience the madcap, neo-noir world of Bella, Felix, Emerald, and Coco…and Marky Blue-Eyes! (It’s special fun for me as my name happens to be the same as the plucky heroine.) Recommended for your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, and their schoolfriends. Bella’s adventures are not to be missed!’ Bestselling author Bella Street

‘What’s not to love about this book? Strong independent girl (with brains) and her uber-techie cool as can be male sidekick outwit the FBI’s most wanted criminal. It’s noir, it’s fun, it’s cool, it moves along at a rapid pace. Doc Gutson could be Cruella Deville’s long lost evil step-sister. This is the sort of stuff that should be made into a movie. Read it and pass it on!’ The Speaker System

‘A thoroughly enjoyable mystery that I have no hesitation in recommending.’ Brenda, Goodreads Librarian