Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Murder is Bad Manners

                                                       Cover image for Murder is bad manners : a Wells & Wong mystery

Murder is Bad Manners
by Robin Stevens
Simon & Schuster, 2014.  307 pgs.  Mystery

     First in the new Wells & Wong mystery series, Murder is Bad Manners is set in an English boarding school in 1934, where Daisy Wells, the blonde-haired darling of teachers and students takes up with Hazel Wong, a Chinese student from Hong Kong, to form a Detective Society of which she is the president and Hazel is the secretary. The Detective Society doesn't have a lot to investigate until Hazel finds the body of Miss Bell, the English instructor, on the gym floor.  She runs for help, but when she gets back, the body is gone. The teachers are upset and dismissive. Only Daisy believes Hazel, and their efforts to find out what happened to the body will take them into the lives of the faculty members until one of them is killed as the girls get too close to the truth. Murder is Bad Manners is interesting on several levels. One is a little surprised that a Chinese girl would be as readily accepted in 1930s Great Britain as Hazel is, but, in fact, Daisy treats her with some condescension through most of the book until Hazel sticks up for herself. The time and place of the narrative set the novel firmly in the British cozy tradition which makes the book a comfortable place to spend some quality time.  Fifth and sixth grade mystery lovers should really go for this one.

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