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Literature / Ruby Redfort

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Look into her eyes.

You can never be completely sure what might happen next.
Ruby's Rule 1

Ruby Redfort is a book series written by Lauren Child (of Charlie and Lola fame), and follows the adventures of Teen Superspy Action Girl Ruby Redfort.

The daughter of socialites Brant and Sabina Redfort, expert codebreaker and Teen Genius Ruby is recruited by secret agency Spectrum into helping solve codes for a case that resulted in the death of the previous codebreaker. The case turns out to be much more complicated than that, and Ruby, breaking more than a few Spectrum rules and becoming a part field agent, investigates.

The idea for the novels originates from Child's book series Clarice Bean. In it, Clarice is obsessed with a Book Within a Book Ruby Redfort, about a smart girl spy. According to Child, she got so many letters from fans asking for more about Ruby, she wrote some.

Books in the series:

  • Look Into My Eyes
  • Take Your Last Breath
  • Catch Your Death
  • Feel the Fear
  • Pick Your Poison
  • Blink and You Die

A supplementary handbook of sorts, Hang in There Bozo: The Ruby Redfort Emergency Survival Guide for Some Tricky Predicaments, is also available.


  • Action Girl: Ruby definitely falls into this category.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The books are much more complicated than the books Clarice Bean reads.
  • Adaptational Wimp: While still a interesting guy, Clancy Crew isn't as cool as he is in the books Clarice Bean reads. Here, Clancy is often kidnapped and scared.
  • Adapted Out: The Count's Number Two in the Clarice Bean books, Hogtrotter, doesn't appear.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Initially, we believe the Count to be the Big Bad. Then we realize that somebody else is pulling the strings. Things get complicated from there.
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  • Amnesiac Hero: It is revealed that Bradley Baker has been mushroom expert Mo Loveday, with little remembrance of his past.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Quite often, chapters of Ruby-centric action will be intercut with sometimes seemingly unrelated scenes set elsewhere. These scenes tend to have some impact on the story as a whole.
  • Badass Bookworm: Ruby, who reads a lot and knows how to crack codes. It's what gets her into Spectrum.
  • Back for the Finale: Bradley Baker shows in Blink and You Die.
  • Battle Butler: Hitch is undercover as the Redfort's insanely capable 'house manager.' The trope is downplayed in that with he's doing the 'battle' part of the trope, he's usual in spy mode.
  • Black Boss Lady: LB is the leader of Spectrum 8, and was the first female agent. According to the drawings at the end of Book 6, she is visually modeled after Pam Grier.
  • Black-Tie Infiltration: Subverted. Ruby has to go to many classy events as part of her job (and climaxes often occur at these places) but she's not 'infiltrating' them as her parents are rich socialites, so they would go anyway.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Count, most definitely. His entire aesthetic screams evil movie villain, and what's more- that's 100 percent intentional.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Many things, usually the items that Ruby steals/appropriates from the Spectrum gadget lab.
    • The Escape Watch is a special one, which saves her life multiple times.
  • Combat Hair Comb: Mrs. Digby takes out Buzz with a pointy hairstick.
  • Cool Car: Hitch allegedly drives one.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: Ruby spots several holes in Hitch's cover story almost immediately upon meeting him.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: The kid who beats up Clancy after Ruby blows him off in the fifth book.
  • Deadpan Snarker: A lot of characters fall into this category. Mostly notably Ruby, but also-
    • Most of her friends.
    • Hitch.
    • Blacker, and a lot of the Spectrum staff.
    • LB, on rare occasions.
  • Defictionalization: The series is a defictionalization of a series of novels (and movie) in the Clarice Bean novels.note 
  • Distressed Dude: Clancy is taken by the villains so much he's practically the Designated Victim.
    • Clancy gets kidnapped by the bad guys in book three. When Ruby finds him, he's barely conscious.
    • Clancy also manages to get bitten by a poisonous snake in the fifth book.
    • In the fifth book, he gets kidnapped by the Count Von Viscount himself. He doesn't exactly have the best luck.
    • The Count again finds him near the climax of the last book.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: In the final book, it's revealed that the person who was behind everything and orchestrated an entire series worth of devious plotting was... Buzz. Absolutely nobody saw it coming, not even the Count himself.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Most adult women in the series tend to do this in regards to Hitch.
  • Embarrassing First Name, Embarrassing Middle Name, Embarrassing Last Name: LB's got the whole set: '''Loveday Byrd Uggerlimb.
    LB: My parents had questionable taste.
    • Hitch's full name is Art Hitchen Zachary.
    • Buzz tells Ruby that her full name is Brenda Ulla Zane, and that's why she shortens it to Buzz (BUZ). This is revealed to be untrue.
  • Epic Fail: Ruby attempts to climb the outside of a building at the beginning of Feel The Fear, for pretty much no reason other than the fact that she's bored. She ends up losing her balance because of somebody opening a window in front of her (her dad, no less), and Hitch has to rescue her.
  • From Bad to Worse: Things start kicking in midway through book six. First Ruby is pushed out of a plane by the Australian, who's managed to hijack the flight. Then, after narrowly surviving, she witnesses the death of Bradley Baker, who just so recently was found out to be still alive. Then, she begins to suspect Hitch of being Casey Morgan, the traitor. From there, events come to a head.
  • Genre Savvy: Ruby's a great lover of crime fiction, and frequently applies this knowledge to the situations she gets into.
  • Gut Punch: Baker's (second) death, this time much more final. Worse than that- LB's reaction to it.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: The Count does this to Ruby at the climax of Look Into My Eyes. He even traps her in a giant hourglass, for drama.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Ruby and Hitch.
    • Ruby and Blacker!
  • Jumped at the Call: Ruby is flat-out thrilled to work at a secret agency.
  • Killed Off for Real: Bradley Baker and Buzz, in book six.
    • And before that, Baby Face Marshall in book five.
    • Valerie "Nine Lives" Capaldi loses her last life at the end of the first book.
  • Kindly Housekeeper: Mrs. Digby is a tough version of one. She loves the Redforts, but won't mind calling them out.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy Ruby Redfort herself is pretty tomboyish being the rough and tough dominant one and refuses to wear anything frilly as stated in the first book while Clancy Crew is rather more on the feminine side being the timid and soft-hearted subservient one and even wore heart-shaped sunglasses that belonged to his sister Lulu in the second book.
  • The Medic: Doctor Harper, who's "pretty cool" according to Ruby.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Ruby's parents, Brant and Sabina, have absolutely no clue what's going on in their daughter's life.
  • Pet the Dog: Vapona Begwell, who is Ruby's high-school arch-nemesis, gets several redeeming moments as the series progresses, eventually culminating in her forming a vague friendship with Ruby.
  • Sadistic Choice: 11 years ago, LB was given a choice: to kill 1000+ people or blow up Bradley Baker's ship. She chose the latter.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The true big bad of the series, the previously thought to be male Casey Morgan is learned to be the very female Buzz.
  • Shown Their Work: The books include complex codes, and Child consulted mathematian Marcus du Sautoy on them. There are full explanations included in the back of each book.
  • Spy Speak: LB calls Ruby out on doing this.
    Ruby: Has either one of them squealed?
    LB: This is not an episode of ''Crazy Cops'', Redfort. Could you please refrain from using this appalling TV slang.
    Ruby: Sorry, I mean- are they talking? Did they say anything? Anything we don't already know?
    LB: I'm afraid not- though it's not unusual for hard nuts... criminals for hire to keep their silence.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Buzz pretended to be male as Casey Morgan to get into the Junior Training.
  • Teen Superspy: Ruby, but she was originally meant to only be and code cracker. Bradley Baker was one of these too.
  • Tempting Fate: Ruby does this a lot, to the point of doing dangerous, borderline suicidal things just because she has the strong feeling that she'll make it out alive.
  • Truth Serum: One appears in book 2. It is extracted from a octopus. Ruby is forced to take it, and ends up saying anything she thinks of.
    Ruby: Sorry, I gotta say what's on my mind.
    Clancy: You always say what's on your mind.
  • Terms of Endangerment: The Australian woman always refers to her victims as 'sweetie.'
  • Villain Team-Up: Casey Morgan and the Count.
    • The Count also teams up with other villains- Baby-Face Marshall, and Nine-Lives Capaldi
    • Baby-Face, in turn, teams up with Lorelei Von Leyden at one point.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ruby tends to have this relationship with just about all of her friends. Del Lasco is one of the most notable, and Clancy falls under this category as well.
    • Hitch too.
  • The Watson: Clancy asks Ruby a lot of questions.
  • World of Snark: This seems to be Twinford in general.

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