Robin Stevens: Cream Buns and Crime, Once Upon a Crime, Mistletoe and Murder (Puffin Books)
‘Grown-ups always underestimate children. Children never underestimate each other.’
Robin Stevens, although born in America, has lived in England since the age of 3. She herself studied at a boarding school and included her own experiences in her book series. However, unlike the protagonists of the story, she waited in vain for a real crime that she could investigate. The mysteries 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 fiction at university and then worked for a children’s book publisher before becoming a full-time writer. The Murder Most Unladylike series started in 2014 and has 10 books, the first volume has already been published in Hungarian.
Cream Buns and Crime and Once Upon a Crime are companion books in which Daisy and Hazel solve ‘minor’ cases. Once Upon a Crime is the volume of the series, in which, in addition to the girls, we can also follow the investigations of their friends, Alexander and George, and in the last short story, May Wong, Hazel’s younger sister was introduced, who is one of the protagonists of writer’s next series (Ministry of Unladylike Activity). On the other hand, in Cream Buns and Crime, we find not only short stories, but also get to know the characters better, find out who their favorite writers, detectives or even cakes are. We can even find out what the author’s favorite books are and what books inspired the stories.
In Mistletoe and Murder, Daisy and Hazel spend Christmas in Cambridge and once again get involved in a murder case (much to Daisy’s delight), and even compete with George and Alexander’ detective society during the investigation. In my opinion, the novels in the series are more interesting than the short stories because they reveal England in the 1930s. The narrator of the story is Hazel, who always plays the underdog to Daisy, yet the two girls love each other very much. This was also very interesting for me to see. Although Hazel is clearly the more likable character, you can also understand Daisy. Through Hazel, we can see the discrimination not only against colored people but against foreigners, and also the difficulties faced by the women at that time. The series is very good because, in addition to the exciting investigation, it also has deeper content. I recommend it to everyone and not only during Christmas time.