Review: Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens
‘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?