Murder Most Unladylike was the GMGR book of the Month for May. I even managed to read it in May – on holiday, thanks to the library!
It’s not the first Wells & Wong book I’ve read – although it is the first in the series. I read Jolly Foul Play (book 4) in 2016. It was in the mobile library we had at the village in Norfolk. I’ve been meaning to start at the beginning for a long time.
Murder Most Unladylike (Wells and Wong #1)
by Robin Stevens
1934. 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? (goodreads)
Reading the first book in a series when you’ve read the fourth is a strange way of going about these things. Yet it’s not the first time I’ve jumped in later in a series. The only disadvantage of this one is that there had been a reference to the perpetrator of this first crime. I couldn’t remember what it was, and I was completely misled by the little I did remember of any spoilers!
I enjoyed the later book, and I enjoyed this one. It’s strange going back to when Hazel Wong first met Daisy Wells. I discovered that Hazel was very much the outsider at the time. She had just managed to get her father to send her to a proper school for young ladies. Unlike her friends in Hong Kong, she was sent to England for her education. She has almost nothing in common with the rest of the girls, including Daisy, who is herself trying to hide her aristocratic background. Once Hazel realises Daisy is acting the whole time, she learns how to do it, too.
One of my GMGR colleagues found the somewhat bossy ‘golden-haired’ Daisy an inappropriate friend for (Chinese descent) Hazel, these days, although in the 30s it might have been normal. I kept my comment to myself on the forum, because first, I hadn’t seen that at all. Second, maybe I’m the sort of English girl who always befriends people regardless of ethnicity when they look like they need help to settle on their own. And third, it’s a refreshing change to find a school story where the golden-haired centre of attention is not a bitch or a bully or a prom queen (and bitch and bully). I bet the willowy blondes I know would love a decent role model!
So apart from that, it’s a great start to the series. It has a really convoluted plot which Daisy gets wrong because she doesn’t listen to Hazel, and it all works out in the end. And it has a midnight feast. Plus games of hockey where one trio (two defenders and goalie) never see the rest of the girls because they’re all playing at the other end of the pitch. (That was my experience of hockey).
It’s really challenging to think how this type of tale could be brought into the modern world. School just isn’t what it used to be. But then, maybe it never was. It was just a con to get us keen to go to school!
And, with ten in the series now, I’m going to be using the library a lot!Book Review | Murder Most Unladylike (Wells & Wong #1) 'a great start to the series, with a really convoluted plot' @redbreastedbird #mglit #mgmystery Click To Tweet