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Book Review: Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Murder Most Unladylike (Wells and Wong, #1)Title: Murder Most Unladylike
Author: Robin Stevens
Series:  Wells and Wong, #1
Pages:  324
Publisher: Corgi
Date of Publication: 5th June, 2014
Source: for review from Corgi via NetGalley
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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?


My Thoughts:
There was so much hype surrounding this book on Twitter that I couldn't not read it. Everyone was saying that it was like Sherlock Holmes, but set in a girls' boarding school in 1930s England, with Sherlock and Watson as two schoolgirls who have bunbreak everyday. That's all I needed to know to want to read it. I had high expectations and I was not disappointed.

Murder Most Unladylike is a middle grade title and reads really easily. The plot is simple and quite predictable, but it is very adorable and Robin Stevens really manages to bring Deepdean School for Girls in 1934 to life. Hazel Wong and her friend Daisy Wells are the only two members of Wells and Wong's Detective Society. Their usual cases are only trivial, until one day Hazel discovers the body of her Science mistress, Miss Bell, on the floor of the school gym. But, five minutes later, the body has gone. The pair are convinced it was a murder and are determined to deduce what happened, and so they embark on their hunt for the truth.

The book is told from Hazel's point of view, and I think that Robin got the voice of a young schoolgirl spot on. I was able to imagine life at Deepdean in detail and I really loved the feel of the school. I know I mention it a lot but I really love boarding school books (although I can't decide whether I'd love to go to one or hate it) and I was definitely not disappointed by Deepdean! I mean, how could I be? They have BUNBREAK. They literally stop lessons to go outside and eat cakes and biscuits. That is the point of bunbreak. Sounds AWESOME. (I have cake break at school half way through double lessons, but it's not nearly as cool as bunbreak sounds). Anyway, I digress.

I really liked reading about Hazel and Daisy's friendship as the novel progresses. Like with most friendships, Hazel and Daisy go through their rough patches and fall out, but I really enjoyed reading about how they patched things up and made up too. I used to fall out with friends a lot over silly things (I've got a lot better now) but it still happens occasionally and so I could relate to the girls quite well. That's not to say that they weren't friends for a lot of it - quite the contrary! I loved seeing the girls stick up for each other in front of the other girls, especially when Daisy stood up for Hazel when she was subject to racial prejudice (she's Asian). It was awesome. I think the racism was handled really well and added a little more depth to an otherwise fun and playful novel, but without weighing it down and being too serious.

The murder itself is quite predictable, however I still enjoyed reading about all the clues that the girls found and all their theories about who did it and how and why. I had some exams that needed revising for when I reached about half way through, which detracted from it a bit and caused me to lose interest a little, but once I'd got the exams out of the way I picked it back up and it didn't take me long to finish. Don't let that put you off though because it really is a great read that can be enjoyed by adults and young people alike! I can't wait to read more of Robin's books, and any more Wells and Wong stories that might be written in the future!


*Huge thanks to Random House and NetGalley for allowing me to access this title in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

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