What’s it about?
When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own 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.)
Then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She assumes it was a terrible accident – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove one 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 and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?
I’d been wanting to read this this first book in the series since publication but you know…anyhow I borrowed this copy from niece and read over the Christmas break.
All in all the mystery is well plotted and constructed, and I enjoyed unravelling the clues alongside and at the same pace as the girls; their deducing was very well thought out, so much better than my own – ha! and this is just how I imagine Miss Marple would have been written as a child character.
The boarding school setting and the period in which it’s set, I’m assuming 1930s or 40s, was all very jolly hockey sticks and middle class. There’s a case to be made that the author has tried a little hard to make the book over-British, there’s quite a lot of explanation that I don’t really think was necessary, the readers could be given a little more credit for understanding and again, the glossary at the end was somewhat overkill.
There’s an undercurrent of lesbianism which is hinted in the girls pashes and other plotlines but these are never fully explored – a sign of the times I suppose.
My biggest problem with the book was Daisy! Without wishing to offend anyone, particularly the author, (as I’ve met her, she’s lovely) but Daisy is an out and out b*tch! This was one part of the book, and quite a significant part that I just didn’t gel with. She bullied Hazel from day one and dismissed her over and over, why would anyone want to be her friend? Oh I get the whole fitting in and emulation but she’s just not a nice character and this really frustrated me as a reader. This is the first in the series and I think I’d only continue if I could be reassured that Daisy starts to treat Hazel a whole lot better!
Small print for info
No of pages: 352