Murder Most Unladylike
June 5th 2014
Random House Children's Books
Deepdean School for Girls, 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia's missing tie. Which they don't, really.)
But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident - but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there's more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.
Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?
I'm not entirely sure how good of a review this will be seeing as it's been about a month since I've written a review and longer since I read the book, but I am going to start it as such: Murder Most Unladylike is a book of everything I love. I even like typing the title. I just adored it, and I think it is impossible not to. If you don't adore this, then you are just weird. And you are definitely in the wrong place.
Murder Most Unladylike is a middle grade mystery set in a boarding school in the 1930's. Wells and Wong are like the 1930's 13 year-old female versions of Sherlock and Watson. Once, probably about a year ago, I ranted about how I wanted a book about a pair of crime solving ladies or some such (I can't remember exactly what I said but it was definitely along those lines). Anyway, this is that book. It's like the middle grade Agatha Christie/Sherlock Holmes story you never knew you wanted. Sorry if I sound like I'm coming on a bit strong, but I haven't done this whole review thing for a while and I've forgotten how not to sound crazy about books that I really enjoyed.
I feel kind of bad because it's been about two months since I read MMU (yes, I know, what a terrible blogger I am) but I'll try and do it justice. I loved both Daisy and Hazel, and I adored their friendship. I love books about friendship, and mysteries, so things like this are really just ideal for me. I'm looking forward to seeing how their friendship develops in the next few books, but I do love their dynamic as is. I also loved the setting. I know that the next few books aren't going to be set at Deepdean School for Girls, which is understandable because there are only so many mysteries you can have at a boarding school before a) people start to catch on the fact that lots of people keep on mysteriously dying there so it gets shut down or b) they go back to looking for Lavinia's missing tie. And I'm looking forward to there being more fun settings (the next book is set in a country house), but I did really love Deepdean. I don't think I'll ever get tired of books being set in boarding schools. They're just perfect for mysteries. And everything. There is just something about boarding schools that make books so fun...
There are so many things about this book that just make it wonderful. The plot is tight and fun and twisty and it took me a bit to guess who the killer is (this is like a significant amount of the fun for me when reading mystery novels. But I think this is just a normal thing and also because there is a significant part of me that wants to be a fictional detective.) I think I'm getting quite repetitive now, because I am really just full of love for this book. So I'll just end this now before it gets too weird with a quote from my mum, who started it this morning, and said 'it's like joy has entered my life again'. In context, it's because she wasn't really enjoying the book she had just finished BUT OH WELL READ THIS BOOK.