Robin Stevens: First Class Murder (Puffin Books 2016)
According to Katherine Rundell (Rooftoppers, The Good Thieves) Robin Stevens is the Agatha Christie for children. The author was born in America, but has lived in England since she was 3 years old. She also was a boarding school student, however, unlike the protagonists of the story, she never found a real crime to investigate. Nevertheless, the mystery followed her throughout her life. Ever since she read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, she knew she wanted to be Poirot or Miss Marple when she grew up. She studied crime writing at university and then worked for a children’s book publisher before becoming a full-time writer. She started the Murder Most Unladylike series in 2014 and finished it in 2021. The series contains a total of 11 volumes, two of which are short story collections.
The main characters of the story are Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, who attend DeepDean School for Girls. In addition to their studies, they are the two members of the Wells and Wong Detective Agency, which sheds light on the mysterious cases occurring at the school. After the previous minor cases, they were ‘lucky’ to investigate real murders. The books do not have to be read in order, because although previous investigations are mentioned, they do not reveal anything about their solutions.
In this story, Hazel’s father invited Daisy and Hazel to go on a summer vacation trip to Europe. Mr. Wong believes in choosing the best of everything, so there is no other possibility of transportation than the famous Orient Express. Since the previous incident(s), Hazel’s father thinks it’s better to keep the girls out of any situation where they might get into trouble. However, nobody can blame them that if they come across a murder, they have to investigate it. After all, any good detective would do that. And if they happen to be in danger again? Everyone can bear a little thrill!
There are standalone books by the author too, but last year she started a new series about child spies of the British Secret Service called The Ministry of Unladylike Activity, the second volume of which was published this year.