A pair of eighth-grade girls, admirers of Holmes and Watson, expose a real murderer in a tony English boarding school in 1934.
This splendid school story/murder mystery opens with a map and a helpful cast of characters: the staff and students of Deepdean School, where Hazel Wong, daughter of an Anglophile Hong Kong banker, and Daisy Wells, golden-haired member of the English nobility, have formed the Wells & Wong Detective Society. From Part One, “The Discovery of the Body,” to Part Eight, “The Detective Society Solves the Case,” Hazel, as the society’s secretary, worriedly but methodically recounts the case. Her account begins on Oct. 30, 1934, one day after finding Miss Bell's dead body, runs through the end of November, when the murderer is arrested, and wraps up during their Christmas holiday. Her narrative is punctuated with occasional handwritten updates of their suspect list. Hazel’s outsider status allows her to comment humorously on the curious customs of the English world, while cheerful Daisy’s need to know and her privileged assumption that everyone will love her and do her bidding earns them access to places and information that help them solve their first serious case. There are clues, red herrings and suspenseful chases galore, as well as heaps of boarding school trivia that amuse and delight.
An irresistible English import with sequels to come. (Mystery. 10-14)