Wells & Wong #1: I look forward to going back to Deepdean some day! ♥♥♥♥♥/5

Feeling nostalgic for the books you read as a child, but don’t quite feel up to rummaging through your storage space? Do the covers above remind you of your beloved stories of boarding schools, midnight feasts and young detectives? Then this is the book for you!

Murder Most Unladylike (or Murder is Bad Manners, in the US) is the first in a new MG mystery series by Robin Stevens. The year is 1934, the setting is the Deepdean School for Girls in England, and the characters are Hong Kong-born Hazel Wong and the detective novel-loving Daisy Wells, who recruits Hazel to be her best friend and the Watson to her Sherlock.

The girls think their Detective Society is doomed to never investigate anything more exciting than missing ties, but when Hazel finds the dead body of one of their mistresses – and then the body disappears – they finally have a real case on their hands!

Join the girls as they investigate their most exciting mystery yet, making full use of everything at their disposal (staff members and medical wings and bun breaks, oh my!) to narrow down their list of suspects and uncover the guilty party before the adults.

It’s just like the boarding school stories you used to love, with an exciting mystery and suspenseful moments to keep you hooked, and two girls that you’ll want to become friends with yourself. There’s even a touch of realism when an offhand comment makes Hazel realize what you may have already noticed – that Daisy, the self proclaimed society president, is a little bossy and dismissive of Hazel, the secretary (not vice president) – and the issue is actually addressed.

Minor quibbles:

  1. I would have chosen the physical book over the audiobook if I had known there was additional material – a map of the school, a character list and a glossary. I had no problem following the story without them, but I wish they were included in all versions.
  2. The chapter list of the audiobook doesn’t indicate where each new “Part” starts. Admittedly, probably only something that would bother me, but I sometimes had time for one more chapter and then “couldn’t” listen to it because it was suddenly a new part.
  3. I was surprised by the length – I thought it must be almost finished when I was actually only halfway through and about to get to a twist. It seems to be wildly popular regardless, but at 57 chapters it’s the longest children’s book I’ve ever seen and I wonder if that might put some readers off.


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