Review Blog

Jan 30 2020

Top marks for murder by Robyn Stevens

cover image

Murder most unladylike series, book 8. Puffin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241348383. 400pp.
(Age: 10+) Recommended. This murder mystery is the 8th in the series (nine in total) and the two leading characters Daisy and Hazel have returned to their school, Deepdean, to find that a new, more popular girl is now the focus of most of the students.
Deepdean is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary and there are several days of activities and presentations for both the students and their visiting parents.
Of course, 'A murder most unladylike' needs a body or two and the first alleged murder is seen in the distance from the girls' dorms. As Daisy, Hazel and their small group try to uncover the mystery of the strangulation in the woods, more murders and attempted murders occur throughout the story.
It is all very proper 1930's young lady's school meets Midsomer Murders, as the bodies seem to mount up around Daisy and Hazel.
Except for Inspector, who has a great respect for the girls' sleuthing, the rest of the local police seem incapable of solving any crime. Daisy and Hazel are encouraged to collect information about the people present at the school anniversary and report their observations back to the Inspector.
Robin Stevens illustrates how the girls interact and the way that they treat each other. Class snobbery contributes to some of Daisy's opinions about people. The narrator, Hazel, is a much kinder character and doesn't see the world in the same black and white way as Daisy.
This is the first book I have read in the series and although the characters refer to other stories it was still successful as a stand-alone book.
Many students at my primary school are very keen to read murder mysteries and this gives them a chance to enjoy the genre, solving puzzles and guessing 'who did it'. They are not gruesome or bloody just good old-fashioned sleuthing.
I recommend this book to 10 year olds and above.
A book trailer is available.
Jane Moore

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