FICTION

How to Get Away with Myrtle

Algonquin. (A Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery). Oct. 2020. 352p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781616209193.
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Gr 5-8–Twelve-year-old criminologist Myrtle Hardcastle deeply resents being “banished” by her father to an English seaside town instead of being allowed to attend a forensics conference with him in Paris. The year is 1893 and young girls may be expected to become “Young Ladies of Quality,” but Myrtle plans to pursue investigating. She is beyond delighted when a female investigator befriends her on the train, just in time for a priceless tiara to be stolen! When someone turns up dead and Myrtle’s aunt is charged with the murder, Myrtle has no choice but to solve the case. Who stole the tiara and murdered Mrs. Bloom? Can Myrtle find out before Aunt Helena is shipped off to trial? Readers who enjoyed Premeditated Myrtle will rejoice in this second installment featuring the plucky protagonist, her beautiful and multitalented governess Miss Judson, Peony the cat, and a whole new cast of strong female characters. References to Scotland Yard and investigative techniques will delight young Sherlock Holmes aficionados. The advanced vocabulary will send even the most sesquipedalian readers scurrying to the dictionary. The descriptions of murder may be a touch heavy for some.
VERDICT This deeply plotted sequel is an additional purchase for collections serving the most precocious readers who long for a fast-paced mystery where women shine.

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