With only a day left before Christmas, I thought I’d better announce my top Christmas read for 2016. So, without further ado, I am delighted to announce that it is…
Mistletoe and Murder, by Robin Stevens, Published by Puffin Books
When a review copy of this book came through the door, I was so excited. I love a good mystery at any time of the year, but Christmas is particularly suitable for a ‘whodunnit’ and Robin Stevens doesn’t disappoint with this fifth instalment in the wonderful Murder Most Unladylike series.
In a nutshell, our amateur sleuths Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are spending the Christmas hols in Cambridge with Daisy’s brother Bertie. Hazel is excited to see the city’s beautiful spires, cosy libraries and yummy tearooms – but, as is always the case with Daisy and Hazel, murder is never far off in the Maudlin College’s dark and dangerous stairwells. As soon as the girls arrive, they’re aware of tension between twin brothers, whose pranks are rapidly getting out of hand. They suspect murder is not far off but then something unexpected happens that completely battles the amateur sleuths.
This series is a joy to read if, like me, you love the quaintness of Agatha Christie combined with the tension of mysteries. Daisy’s and Hazel’s world is one of respectability and tea (and cakes) but there is always the suggestion of something ugly lurking under the surface, and these two girls can’t wait to use their wits to solve crimes. Rather like Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, wherever they go, something dastardly is waiting to happen and it’s up to the two to catch the criminal. Stevens’s writing is funny, engaging, light and eminently satisfying, without feeling insubstantial. The story cracks along at a swift pace, throwing the girls into detective mode very early on and keeping the suspense going. I loved reading it and I know the children in my Library will too (once I hand it over… ).