‘She’ll do anything for me, anything. She’s perfect.’ Anna is on top of the world when Will, the hottest guy in Year 11, takes an interest in her. She can’t believe her luck and starts spending every minute of every day with him, neglecting best […]
I’ve owned this book for a while, but finally decided to pick it up after Eve Ainsworth was chosen as the British Books Challenge Author of the Month. Jumping between the perspectives of Kez and Jess, 7 Days tells two sides of a story: the bully and the […]
‘Detecting is all very well when it is about the puzzle, but when it truly becomes about a body I like it far less.’
It’s Christmas, so Hazel and Daisy are off to spend the festive period in Cambridge with Daisy’s brother Bertie and their great-aunt Eustacia. Also staying in Cambridge for Christmas is Alexander – a fellow detective whom the girls met on board the Orient Express in First Class Murder – and George, the other member of the Junior Pinkertons detective society.
Daisy is competitive, and having another detective society on the scene makes her want to prove that Wells & Wong are the superior investigators. Luckily there’s a case waiting for them when they arrive: Donald Melling, twin brother of Chummy Melling, has gotten increasingly accident prone in the weeks leading up to his 21st birthday (the day he’ll legally inherit the Melling fortune, thanks to being born mere minutes before his brother).
Daisy and Hazel are convinced that Chummy is trying to kill Donald to get his hands on the money. George and Alexander agree, and the two societies begin competing against each other to find enough evidence to prove their suspicions about Chummy and save Donald from certain death.
But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem. When Chummy dies in a terrible accident, it looks like Wells & Wong and the Junior Pinkertons have their work cut out for them to have a hope of solving this mystery…
I wish I’d read this at Christmas, but there was no way I could wait nine months to continue on with the Murder Most Unladylike series. If I had, I think it would have been my favourite of the Murder Most Unladylike series so far: Robin Stevens writes magical descriptions of the festivities, but because I wasn’t in a Christmassy mood they didn’t impress me as much as they could have.
However, it’s an utterly brilliant story. Once again, I found it impossible to guess the culprit, and – thanks to the suspicions the girls had about Chummy – I didn’t even guess the victim correctly this time! I wasn’t sad that Chummy died, though: he was a horrendous character, and I actually let out a little cheer at the reveal that he’d kicked the bucket, not his twin.
When I reviewed Jolly Foul Play I commended Robin Stevens for having the girls discussing historical events that occurred when the book was set, and the historical accuracies in Mistletoe and Murder are sublime. Whereas the majority of historical fiction chooses to portray England as a solely white country, Stevens introduces another Chinese character and two characters with Indian parentage, proving that immigration is not a new thing.
Looking back, this plot is probably the most predictable of the series so far. I couldn’t see it coming at the time, but I’m not sure whether this story would work as well if I reread it, and I haven’t questioned that in regards to the other Murder Most Unladylike novels. However, it still deserves all five of its stars.
If you’re interested in learning more about Mistletoe and Murder, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!
Are you the kind of person who only reads Christmassy books during the festive period, or do you throw caution to the wind like I do?
I’ve been teaming up with Entangled Teen for a few weeks now, participating in a range of exciting cover reveals for their upcoming releases. Last week, I shared the cover for Echoes by Alice Reeds with you, while this week I’m excited to be showing off the […]
‘We were all looking up, and so we missed the murder.’
Bonfire Night at Deepdean goes off with a bang when Head Girl Elizabeth is found dead at the end of the fireworks display. Lying next to her is a bloody rake, so it’s agreed that her death must have been an accident – the caretaker, Jones, must have carelessly left the rake on the floor. The new headmistress, Miss Barnard, dismisses him, but the Detective Society know things are never that simple.
Elizabeth’s death wasn’t an accident, it was murder. One of the five prefects must have killed her. But who, and why? It’s down to Daisy and Hazel – along with their assistants, Kitty, Beanie and Lavinia – to figure that out.
With such a small pool of suspects it looked like the Detective Society had an easy case on their hands, but this is the toughest mystery yet. Someone their age – someone who has power over the girls – is responsible, and Hazel is painfully aware of the fact that this is the most dangerous investigation they’ve attempted.
Of course, Daisy still seems completely unfazed. In fact, when deeply hidden secrets start being revealed and Daisy learns that Elizabeth curated something called The Scandal Book, she positively thrives. There’s nothing Daisy Wells loves more than a bit of gossip… Apart from detecting, of course! But because Elizabeth is dead, this gives Wells and Wong another mystery to solve. Who is responsible for leaking the secrets?
It doesn’t make sense for it to be Elizabeth’s murderer. If she was killed to cover up a secret, why would the murderer then start leaking them? Another girl must be responsible, and if Elizabeth’s murderer discovers her identity that girl is going to be in mortal danger.
Because we’re already familiar with most of the characters from Murder Most Unladylike, the stakes are higher than ever. Robin Stevens was clever to wait a few books before returning to Deepdean, because Hazel and Daisy have both gone through a lot of character development since investigating the murder of Miss Bell. It’s not surprising that they’re happy to team up with Kitty and Beanie again, following their help in Arsenic For Tea, but adding Lavinia makes it five prefects vs. five investigators – an interesting dynamic which quickly proves which girls are better at detecting than others!
Once again I couldn’t figure out who the culprit was, and I still can’t find one single thing to critique about this series. Robin Stevens can write compelling murder mysteries in any location, at any time of year, and she refuses to rely on tropes and stereotypes. She also slips in some subtle historical context, having the girls discuss Hitler’s rise to power and his policies regarding Jewish citizens in a way that is sure to spark young reader’s interest in the events of World War II.
It would be impossible for me to recommend this series more. I’m excited to read Mistletoe and Murder, but I’m also saddened: there aren’t many more books in the series left for me to devour, and it’s going to take hundreds of Wells and Wong investigations to satisfy my appetite.
If you’re interested in learning more about Jolly Foul Play, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!
If someone was blackmailing you with a secret, what would you do? I’m hoping the answer to that question isn’t murder!
Fresh from finishing their biggest UK headline tour to date, Dead! were the heaviest band on this line-up and they took advantage of that fact from the word go. Kicking off their set with The Boys The Boys – a song reminiscent of Kids In Glass Houses’ Animals […]
Welcome to my stop on the Strange the Dreamer blog tour! To celebrate the release of the paperback edition of Strange the Dreamer, I’m sharing my review of the first book in Laini Taylor’s duology (the sequel, The Muse of Nightmares, is being released on October 2nd). “You’re a […]
I read a lot of books which surprise me in a bad way, so this week I challenged myself to think of ten books which surprised me in a good way. These are books which lived up to the hype, completely demolished the expectations I had of them or made me fall head over heels in love when I thought I was going to feel ambivalent towards them.
10) The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
I’ve read a lot of Black’s books in the past, but they’ve all been forgettable and haven’t had much of an impact on me. However, The Cruel Prince blew me away. I’d seen a lot of people raving about it and didn’t think it would live up to the hype, but it surpassed it. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to remain one of the best books I read in 2018.
9) Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
I like graphic novels, but I’ve never been emotionally invested in a series before. In fact, I read most of the volumes of Saga consecutively, unable to put them down and desperate to know what was going on with the characters. Unfortunately my local library doesn’t have the newest volume in stock and I can’t afford to purchase it, so I’m going to have to wait for a while to see what happens next!
8) Red Rising by Pierce Brown
I’ve mentioned this a lot in the past, but I’ve never been the biggest sci-fi fan so I was more shocked than anyone when I fell in love with the world of Red Rising. The first novel feels closer to a YA dystopian, so it was the perfect gateway drug to a series which rapidly grew into epic proportions.
7) The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
The main reason I picked up The Smell of Other People’s Houses was because one of the characters shared my unusual spelling of Alyce. It was the first time I’d encountered that in a YA novel, and it overexcited me! I didn’t have any expectations of the book at all, because I had no idea what it was about, but it’s probably one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. There are multiple perspectives which tell individual stories but are all seamlessly woven together: it’s like a collection of short stories and a novel all at once!
6) Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
There was some controversy surrounding Carve the Mark when it was released, and I only borrowed it from the library because I wanted to make my own mind up about it. I ended up really enjoying it, and I’m looking forward to carrying on with the series. It’s far better than the Divergent trilogy, and you can tell that Veronica Roth has focused on developing her writing since her success.
5) Girl Online: Going Solo by Zoella
I didn’t particularly enjoy either of the first two Girl Online books, but because I managed to read them so quickly and they were quite fun I thought I’d give the third volume a go and finish the trilogy off. However, I ended up enjoying it more than most YA contemporary novels I’ve read, which I definitely didn’t expect!
4) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The first time I read Frankenstein I was a lot younger and it bored me to tears. How could a book so short feel so endless?! However, I had to reread Frankenstein at the end of 2017 for my university course, and I enjoyed it so much more the second (and third) times around. That was a lovely surprise – I thought I was going to hate studying it, but it ended up being a lot of fun!
3) The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht
Another one of the titles that I had to study for my university course and ended up really enjoying. I’ve never been a huge fan of reading and studying plays, but Bertolt Brecht’s tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Hitler was hilarious!
2) Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle
Crongton Knights was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize last year, and I wrongly assumed that I was going to hate it. It sounded like a real laddish book, and I’m not normally a fan of titles like that… But it actually modernises the traditional quest plot, and it’s so much fun.
1) Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
I was drawn to this one because there was a dog on the cover. I know, I know, not the best reason to pick a book up… But Sara Baume’s writing is utterly captivating, and it even caused me to shed a few tears. There haven’t been many literary novels which have tugged on my heartstrings, but Spill Simmer Falter Wither is flawless.
If you’re interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon Affiliate link (found in the book’s title). If you’d like to read more about each book, please click on its cover: you’ll be redirected to their Goodreads page.
I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday! What’s the most surprising book you’ve ever read?
Welcome back to The Bumbling Blogger for another exciting collaboration with Entangled Teen. Last week, I participated in the cover reveal for Lisa Brown Roberts’ Spies, Lies, and Allies – check it out if you missed it. Today, I’m revealing the cover for Echoes by Alice Reeds, which is […]