I’ve been struggling a bit with everything I’ve got going on at the moment plus some health stuff, so it has been hard for me to keep reading and posting regularly… I’ve also been looking for shorter or lighter reads, so this series is perfect for that kind of light content!
I read the first novel a while back because everyone I follow on twitter was just raving about how good they are, and I just had to know. It’s middle grade and not my usual reading but I like it! I’ve read the first 2 books so far, but I’ll just focus on the first!
There’s been a rather shocking murder at Deepdean School for Girls…
When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, 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?
As an MG murder mystery, I kind of expected it to be easy to solve for me, which it really wasn’t! The murder plot itself was interesting and engaging, with a side of “oh gosh girls why are you doing this!”
I really enjoy the concept of those two girls having their detective society and jumping at the thought of solving a murder! I also think it’s really good that Hazel is the narrator, first because she brings an outside perspective to this 1930s English girls’ school, being from Hong Kong. Second, because Daisy can be absolutely unbearable, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed it if she were narrating, I think. Hazel is more self aware and less prone to rushing headlong, and that gave me a sense that they’d probably be safe.
The whole idea of two 13 year olds solving murders does rely on not telling the police, which works well because nobody knows about the murder in this case (body’s gone) and second, the girls really don’t trust the police. Daisy says, quite rightly I think, that they would not be believed because they’re kids, and the police is useless. Now the actual police officer turns out to be a good guy, which I think is important in an MG story, but their reasons made sense and I kind of hate that it does (as much in 1930s as it would now).
It was also a bit painful to read due to Hazel being Asian, because despite her father being just as rich or more than all these Englishers’ parents, there is a clear sense that she does not belong, in the way she’s treated. But I think it was a good thing that this was included. And that she seems very resilient about it. Clearly kids need that. From a story perspective I think it also made Daisy more bearable to me. She’s bossy and can be annoying but she’s not bothered at all by Hazel’s origins and treats her like any other (even though she’s bossy sometimes, she seems to be worse with others) and that small thing endeared her to me enough.
Overall it’s engaging, it’s funny, the side characters are a bit two-dimensional because the girls see them only as possible suspects (or as silly friends getting in the way) but overall I think it works very well, and I ordered the next book directly. And the next when I was done with that one!
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