Book Review: MURDER MOST UNLADYLIKE by Robin Stevens (Middle Grade Monday)

Murder Most Unladylike

Genre: Mystery
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 3.5 stars
Series: yes - first in 9 book series


murder most unladylike1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find a truly exciting mystery to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t.)

But then Hazel discovers the body of the Science Mistress, Miss Bell – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls have to solve a murder, and prove a murder has happened in the first place before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally).

But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Considering how much I’ve enjoyed thrillers/mysteries and Middle Grade this past year, MURDER MOST UNLADYLIKE is an obvious book to pick up. My Middle Grade aged friends (with whom I have been swapping books all year) have been enthusiastically following this series, so it’s been on my shelf a while now.

The school is very, very English – though it could have been spread across a variety of time periods as there wasn’t particularly anything other than the blurb signalling that it was the 1930s. A slight reference to the outside world would have been nice. These are eleven year olds, old enough to have at least a clue that the country’s not in the best shape.

However, it’s just like an Enid Blyton type of school (hence the range of possible time periods!). This made me very nostalgic for all her school series when I was eleven. The writing is full of voice, posh and full of the rather baffling slang the upper class use (explained in the text where context won’t help anyone unfamiliar with the insanity of Upper Class slang!).

It’s clearly written by a Sherlock Holmes fan (the girls consider themselves Holmes and Watson), and full of references to other classic mysteries.

There are clues scattered across the pages, ready for you to piece together yourselves. The most important piece of information is so boldly placed before the reader, but in such a way that I didn’t take any notice of it. When the solution was revealed, I kicked myself for not paying more attention to it, but it did mean I could have a brilliant oh moment where it all slotted together.

Daisy is a snob and very overbearing towards Hazel. While Hazel internally grouches about this, she doesn’t really confront her friend about it. When there is an argument (not directly linked to this), Hazel is the first to apologise, then Daisy interrupts her apology to give hers – and this seems to be everything okay, even though Daisy barely changes. I suppose this is the first in a long series, so Daisy can’t overcome her biggest flaw in one book, but it didn’t feel genuine.


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