Middle Grade Monday: Mistletoe and Murder
Title: Mistletoe and Murder (Murder Most Unladylike #5)
Author: Robin Stevens
Publication Info: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018 (US Edition). 352 pages (Kindle Edition).
Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are spending the Christmas holidays in snowy Cambridge. Hazel is looking forward to a calm vacation among the beautiful spires, cozy libraries, and inviting tea-rooms.
But there is danger lurking in the dark stairwells of ancient Maudlin College and two days before Christmas, there is a terrible accident. At least, it appears to be an accident—until the Detective Society looks a little closer, and realizes a murder has taken place. Faced with several irritating grown-ups and fierce competition from a rival agency, they must use all their cunning and courage if they’re going to find the killer before Christmas dinner.
This 5th novel in the Wells & Wong/Murder Most Unladylike series is a strong mystery at a fairly adult level. Our protagonists are now "nearly 15" and are getting into somewhat more adult company and more adult situations (well, since they've been investigating murders right along, the whole series is not for the excessively young). The mystery is well plotted, though it does in part work because the girls are too quick to dismiss some possibilities. I didn't cop to the guilty party (though they were still on my list) until the girls found key info, though in retrospect there are hints and clues.
One annoyance from earlier books in the series seems to have been addressed: the tendency of the publisher to "translate" for the US edition. There were still some things that weren't right, and I wish they would give US kids credit for a bit more intelligence, but we do seem at last to have accepted that we can call a biscuit a biscuit and not a cookie. Whew!
I did have a little trouble with some characters, since it's been a couple of years since I read the preceding book. I think reading the series in order and in rapid succession might be best--and also is the way you are going to want to read them, because really, these books are a lot of fun.
An enjoyable mystery series for older children and for adults. There is some mention of blood and reactions to finding bodies.
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