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Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

It’s 1934 and thirteen year old Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells are students in Deepdean School for Girls. They are the founding members of the school's Detective Society, albeit the only ones in it. One day, Hazel stumbles upon the corpse of their science teacher Miss Bell in the gymnasium, but when she returns with Daisy, they discover the body is gone. Now the girls have to not only prove a murder has happened in the first place, but also discover the identity of the killer before they strike again.

There is a lot to like about this middle grade murder mystery as it has a lot of elements that differentiate it from other stories in the classic boarding school setting. Firstly, our protagonist in this historical English story is Chinese. Interestly, she is not even the principal detective in the Detective Society (which is Daisy) but rather the secretary. The friendship between Hazel and Daisy isn’t always smooth sailing. Both girls are exceptionally intelligent, but Daisy, the “perfect English girl”, is bossy, entitled, manipulative and easy to dislike. And this book doesn’t shy away from what might be “gory details” for this age group - they are investigating a murder after all!

I listened to the Audible audiobook. Actress Gemma Chan, star of Crazy Rich Asians, narrates the book, her posh English accent bringing the story to life. If you like the idea of throwing Sherlock Holmes & Watson into St Trinians, then this would be for you.


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