Monday, October 5, 2020

Premeditated Myrtle & How to Get Away with Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce


As soon as I saw that Myrtle of this series was compared to the intreped Flavia De Luce, I knew she would be a kindred literary spirit. Who doesn't love a spunky, intelligent, inquisitive {a.k.a. nosy} young lady?

For this series, it is entirely appropriate to judge the books by their covers, for they are truly gorgeous! I love the little hint on the cover of what will become an essential component of the mystery. The style of cover is not only engagingly bright, but stylistically a perfect match for the historical setting.

Readers are introduced to the young sleuthing heroine, along with a cast of supporting characters (some delightful, others despicable) in the first in the series, Premeditated Myrtle. I loved that Myrtle has a companionable governess, Miss Judson, who offers a guiding influence in the absence of a mother. With a lawyer for a father, Myrtle's upbringing has involved exposure to crime and court proceedings, which has fostered an obsession with crime solving.

In book one, Myrtle's elderly next-door neighbor, a creature of unwavering habit, has died under what Myrtle knows are mysterious circumstances but to her consternation, she cannot get the adults to listen to her. Which means she (and Miss Judson) must take matters into their own hands. What ensues is a lively adventure with twists, turns, and a few surprises before a highly satisfying ending. 

Book 2 takes place on a train as she and Miss Judson are accompanied by Myrtle's dreaded Aunt Helena (whose presence all but guarantees a horrid holiday).  So imagine Myrtle's delight when a jeweled tiara goes missing and she gets drawn into helping the insurance investigator. Wow--the holiday is definitely looking up...until said investigator gets rather fatally silenced and now Myrtle must find not only a jewel thief but a murderer.  Not so easily done when Aunt Helena is determined to keep her out of harm's way.

I am thrilled with this new series for young readers and recommend them unreservedly. There has been a huge gap for well-written mysteries for middle grades and to find something with no morally objectionable content or profanity is quite a rarity these days. Readers will also boost their vocabulary (often footnoted with amusing commentary). Elizabeth C. Bunce has crafted a series that will entirely beguile readers (especially those with a fondness for cats--Peony is a silent partner in the crime-solving endeavors).  I hope that Myrtle will have a number of new cases to tackle in the future and I look forward to reading every new adventure that Bunce creates!

Disclaimer: I received free digital copies of Premeditated Myrtle and How to Get Away with Myrtle from publisher Algonquin Young Readers through NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.


MDiskin said...

What age reader would love this book?

Jill Stanish said...

Target age is 8-12 but my 13 year old loved it. It would make a marvelous read aloud for a wide range of ages. Purely delightful!

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