I know, you all looked at my list of books I read last week and just knew that this was going to be my pick for BotW didn’t you? So sue me. Today feels momentous and a little terrifying with what is going on in the world, and what better way to take your mind off what may or may not be about to occur than a charming children’s novel about school girls solving mysteries.
Long standing readers will be familiar with my love of Robin Stevens’ Wells and Wong series (see here, here, here and here) and Mistletoe and Murder (which incidentally shares its name with a Daisy Dalrymple mystery which is also very good) is the fifth installment in the series and sees the girls spending their Christmas holidays at Cambridge visiting Daisy’s brother. But of course the girls can’t help but run into an investigation – this time in competition with their rivals at the Junior Pinkertons. But soon suspicious accidents have turned deadly and the girls are in a race against time to figure out who did it and why.
I’ve said before that these books are the perfect blend of Agatha Christie and St Clares stories and I stand by that – they’re brilliant and inventive and I wish they’d been around when I was the “right” age. I practically gobbled this up in one sitting, which was a mistake because I’d already read the Halloween short story and now I have to wait months and months and months for the next one. This would make the perfect Christmas book for the young reader in your family – or the big kid if you’re like me. It’s the perfect escape from the trials and tribulations of the grown-up world.
But if you’re not into middle grade fiction (more fool you) and still want some escapism, I can also heartily recommend Gail Carriger’s latest novella – Romancing the Inventor – in which we see one of the most beloved side characters in her steampunk world, Madame Lefounx, finally get over the pesky Angelique and find love again. It probably works best if you’ve read the Parasol Protectorate series, will work even better if you’ve also read the Finishing School series. I loved it – it’s a great, fun love story with some guest appearances from old favourites. What more could you want?
Robin Stevens’ Wells and Wong books should be available where ever children’s books are sold (if they’re not, ask them why), but here are links to Mistletoe and Murder on Amazon, Kindle, Waterstones, Foyles and Kobo.
Romancing the Inventor is one of Gail Carriger’s self published works – so it’s not quite as available in the shops, but you can get it on Kindle and on Kobo or special order it in paperback from Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles.