Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens

Cover image for Murder is bad manners : a Wells & Wong mysteryThis is the first in a new children's mystery series set in 1933 England.  Hazel Wong is from Hong Kong and has come to boarding school in England.  She is befriended by one of the most popular girls in her grade, Daisy Wells, and they form a secret detective agency.  Their first big case comes when Hazel finds the body of one of their teachers lying in the gymnasium. Hazel runs to get help, but when they return, the body is gone. Hazel and Daisy are amazed when the administration claims that the teacher simply quit her job and life at the school goes on as if nothing sinister has happened.  Daisy and Hazel decide that it is up to them to solve the crime.

This book, and the other two in the series have all received starred reviews. Daisy and Hazel are complex characters.  Hazel has to deal with racial prejudice, and Daisy is rather controlling and over ambitious.  The reader senses that Hazel and Daisy's relationship is not entirely healthy, but Hazel is just grateful to have any friend, so she is willing to do things for Daisy she wouldn't otherwise do.  The mystery is also rather complex.  The reader gets to see into the varied lives of all the teachers who are the suspects in the case.  I should have seen the final solution, but I must admit I did not. Once it was revealed I could see that Stevens had given ample clues to the solution, but I had missed them.  It is pretty good mystery writing.  I will probably read more in the series. (307p.)

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