#MGTakesOnThursday: The Case of the Drowned Pearl by Robin Stevens

Image created by @MarySimms72 and used with permission.

This is a weekly meme started by @marysimms72 on her brilliant Book Craic blog.

 

To take part, the steps to follow are:

 

  • Post a picture of a front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.

 

  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence.

 

  • Write three words to describe the book

 

  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

 

 

Author: Robin Stevens

Illustrator: Nina Tara

Publisher: Puffin Books

 

Favourite sentence from Page 11: “He was not formal with her as he had been with us, and Karam bent towards him and nodded – they seemed to know each other well.”

 

This book in three words: Murder, Mystery, Friendship

On the day that the title of the final book in the series will be revealed, I thought I would use #MGTakesOnThursday this week to celebrate my love of the Murder Most Unladylike stories.

Since first reading Murder Most Unladylike to my daughter as a bedtime story when she was still at primary school, we have both been hooked on the adventures of The Honourable Daisy Wells and her best friend Hazel Wong. Robin Stevens has created two iconic characters and written a marvellously entertaining set of beautifully plotted murder mysteries which tick all the “read for pleasure” boxes. You can read my reviews of the first seven full length mysteries here and Top Marks for Murder here.

For World Book Day 2020 a mini-mystery was published, The Case of the Drowned Pearl which I did not manage to review at the time, so belatedly, here is my review:

 

It is testament to this author’s brilliant plotting that she is able to write a self contained murder mystery within the space of 80 pages. All existing fans of the MMU series are likely to want to get their hands on this mini mystery and it is also a good place to start for children who are maybe not quite ready to read one of the longer books yet.

The story takes place in a rain and wind-swept British seaside town where Daisy, Hazel and the two junior Pinkertons, Alexander and George have been taken for a short holiday by Daisy’s mysterious uncle Felix and aunt Lucy. The older relatives are obviously investigating a mystery on behalf of the un-named secret spy agency they work for but having to pose as a normal family on holiday hence the addition of the young detectives.

From the moment they enter the down-at-heel hotel, which definitely doesn’t live up to Hazel’s expectations, they find themselves witnessing a heated conversation between two swimmers with aspirations for medals at the Berlin Olympic games which are due to take place the following month. The next morning on a pre-breakfast trip to the beach where Daisy has insisted they should all have a bracing swim in the chilly sea the children are astonished to stumble upon the drowned body of Amber Braithwaite, Britain’s best hope for a gold medal at the Olympics.

Of course our keen amateur detectives soon spot the clues that hint that this is no accidental drowning at sea but another murder mystery for them to investigate and fans of this series will love watching the young detectives at work.

As with all of Robin‘s previous books you are drawn into Daisy and Hazel‘s world and cannot help but admire the spirit of these two girls as they defy convention and expectations to solve another mystery. Their interaction with the Junior Pinkertons has developed over time to show their increasing maturity; their friendship and understanding of each other’s personalities continues to grow. Daisy can still be infuriatingly self-centred but you just can’t help loving her spirit and Hazel as ever is the voice of kindness, calmness and reason as she puts up with Daisy’s superior antics, supporting her friend and growing in wisdom herself.

This book nicely sets up the final mystery, due to be published later this summer. I cannot help feeling a sense of foreboding for the destiny of my favourite member of the detective society. I am torn between being desperate to read the final adventure and feeling that it is going to leave me heartbroken. I think I’ll be ordering a box of tissues alongside the book!

 

6 thoughts on “#MGTakesOnThursday: The Case of the Drowned Pearl by Robin Stevens

  1. I’m so glad you’ve recommended this – there is something about your sentence choice that really appeals to me. I so should have read this series before now. I think that as I’ve come back to middle-grade within the last year or so, I’ve missed out on lots of fantastic books – just have to find the time to catch up on some of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s hard to keep the balance between the amazing new titles and some great books which appeared post-Harry Potter. I’m lucky because I read so many to my own 3 kids – but of course have to catch up with reviewing them!

      Like

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