Tuesday, 24 June 2014
Review: Murder most unladylike
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 adored this book. It appealed completely to both my inner child, wrote read and reread her Enid Blyton boarding school books until they fell apart and had to be sellotaped back together, and my inner history geek.
For me this book captured the essence of those boarding school stories I adored perfectly but also managed to update them to be more relevant. There was Lacrosse, Mamzelles, bunbreaks and all those things that made me want to enroll in Malory towers. However what made this book particularly special and the reason why I would want to push into the hands of children is how relevant it is. While I love the Malory towers books I would never give them to a child now because the world view in them is quite elitist, racist and sexist. These books have none of these things and go as far as featuring girl leads who are as awesome and clever as any boy character could be and include characters from a non white background too. What I particularly like is that fact that the issues around racism are actually discussed when one of the main characters who is Asian talks about her initial reception in 1930s Britain and how after a while she is no longer seen by other students as not white in the way they deal with her but not in a good way. I thought the way this was done was particularly poignant and brilliantly well done.
All in all a book I adore and whole heartedly recommend