Saturday, 11 September 2021

Would you like milk with that?

 'A Spoonful of Murder' by Robin Stevens; a Murder Mystery book review by Erin the Cat Princess

Erin the cat; Addicted to Murder Mystery & Mice!


Well, what a funny old summer it has been, and strangely my thoughts are, if not exactly heading to Christmas time, then thoughts of Halloween. Brrr, doesnt it just make you shiver and send the staff heading off to dig out the winter duvets!
 

Well, I say duvets, but this year we are trying something different. Mrs H is trying a weighted blanket, and a sensory sheet. Now if you havent heard of such things then do look them up as they help restless sleepers get a good nights sleep. Why she wants a weighted blanket when she has me to pin her to the bed I don't know, but hey ho, the ways of housekeepers are sometimes beyond not so mere princesses as I.

OK, enough of the pre-amble and lets get on with the show!

 


 


This week we are reviewing the next book in the 'Murder Most Unladylike' series, A Spoonful of Murder', By the fabulous Robin Stevens.


The Plot:

This time around Hazel becomes the lead detective when she and Daisy venture to Hazel's birthplace and home in Hong Kong. 

When Hazel's beloved grandfather passes away, Hazel, as much through love as duty, travels home by boat to be with her father and mother, as well as her fathers second wife and her two encouragable younger half-sisters, May and Rose.

Don't worry, family stuctures in Hong Kong are very different to those in the west, as Daisy soon realises. Daisy, the architypal British aristocratic daughter of a lord, also realises that she is a fish out of water, and that Hazel, who has never made much of her family wealth and standing, is actually a bit of a 'dark horse'. But, in true Daisy like fashion, she aims to make the most of the trip and learn as much as she can to fit in.

Now this is all scene setting, and there is NO mystery in Hazel's Grandfathers death. But, there is a surprise that triggers the series of events that creates a fantastic adventure for the girls. On arriving home, Hazel discovers that she has a new baby brother! A step brother by her father's second wife. Hazel is devastated, not least because she hasnt been told before now. But things run deeper than just that. With a new baby brother, her place as the eldest child and apple of her fathers eye is automatically usurped in favour of Teddy, the baby. Despite his age, he will rule the roost as the son. 

Emotions run high for Hazel, as I am sure you can imagine. But, these get put, if not completely to one side, then slightly out of focus when Teddy is kidnapped, and his nurse maid, who was Hazel's own whilst she was growing up, is murdered.

Now at this point things really do take off. There is, like all of these books, a great selction of characters and events and clues to be considered by the two detectives. Add to this that the girls get embroiled with the local Triad gang, risking their own safety in the process, then we have a bowlful of even more Murder Mystery and Suspense to captivate the avid reader.

I shall leave it there for the review, as to go further will, I think, spoil the fun.

 

What did we think?

This is a wonderfully crafted continuation of the series, that touches on many aspects of society, values and predjudices, as well as emotions and driving forces. It is also a jolly good read!

Mrs H and I both loved this new and orignal adventure, especially meeting May and Rose, Hazel's sisters. We will, I promise, get to hear and see more of them as time goes by. I have to say I learned a lot from this book, and think a younger reader will too. Most of all we both loved the way the plot accelerated and developed as the girls fought against the clock to get Teddy back and solve the murders!

It is also heartwarmimg, and gratifying. We truly cant praise this book enough for what it brings to this genre, and the age range – and beyond. The series, which I must confess Mrs H has now read up to date, but keeping the endings to herself, has been a constant bedside companion.


 

Want to buy a copy?

 

If you'd like a Spoonful of Crime with your morning oats, muesli or granola, please do support your local bookshop first. 

 

If you would like something extra spiffing, Round Table Books, here in the UK, can offer special editions, signed copies and pre-orders. I believe they do ship internationally too. A link to Round Table Books special orders can be found HERE.

 

Round Table Books is "an Inclusion-led book shop" based at the heart of Brixton, London, UK. Its purpose, as shown on their website, is to highlight and celebrate underrepresented children's books, writers and illustrators, and draws from as wide a range as possible of UK and Irish publishing houses. Mrs H says, in an age when small or minority is often pushed to one side by the big, shops across the world like Round Table Books, should be encouraged by us all, so we can nurture great new diverse talent.


Next time I will be reviewing the next major book in the series 'Death in the Spotlight'.

OK, so that is it from us here at the Palace. We will return, editorial work on our own adventure novel permitting, in a week or so time.

 

Till then, we hope your own spoons will be filled with nothing more sinister than lukewarm porridge!

Till later.

Toodlepip and Purrs!

ERin

26 comments:

  1. That does sound like a really good one sweet Princess! Nice to see you, we've been missing you.

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    1. Thanks, Mrs H had funreading it to me. These are wearing times and Mrs H is busy keeping safe and busy.
      Purrs
      ERin

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  2. Replies
    1. You too. Too much time goes so quickly during lockdown. Still, maybe things will change this winter. Long nights do mean more reading time also!
      Purrs
      ERin

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  3. Replies
    1. It is another fun book to the series, which is set to roll on to another great series afterwards. More on that later....
      Purrs
      ERin

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  4. Hi Erin! It's so nice to see/hear from you, sweet friend. You have been missed, for sure!

    That book sounds like a good read. We will check it out!

    Hugs to you and Mrs. H.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, do. If you want a better feel for the characters, and havent already visited this series of middle grade/YA books (9-14 years), then do head to the first one 'Murder Most Unladylike'. The flavour and strength of the series builds well from the start as the main characters find their feet, and their skills in detective work.
      Purrs
      ERin

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  5. Erin! Sweet Princess! We are SOOOOOOOOO glad to see you back again! We have missed you!

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    1. Thanks. Will keepon poppping by as and when we can, probably now on a saturday.
      Purrs
      ERin

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  6. Oohhh... This sounds like a charming mystery, for sure. A definite must read! PURRS

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    1. Nine in this series, Seville, with a new series in the offing next year. Murder Mystery suspenseful writing for the budding dectives, whatever the age ;) They are all spiffing good funny and a jolly good read.
      Purrs
      ERin

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  7. Hi Erin! Nice to see you again! ~Ernie

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    1. Thanks. Good books are hard to put down and we love sharing them.
      Purrs
      ERin

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  8. That sounds like a good book, Erin! Good to see you again!

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    1. So so many good MG / YA books out there. We have way more fun reading those than we ever did when Mrs H was reading adult books.
      Purrs
      ERin

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  9. We adore reading book reports; there are so many books, and so little time!
    Any recommendations are carefully considered.
    Thank you for this one.

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    1. If the time is there, books tend to be way more fun than TV. This is a 9-14 age bracket but makes fun adult reader material too in the genre. The next series by Mrs Stevens finds us around the start of the 2nd world war. Still with the girls as lead characters, and promises to be very good.
      Purrs
      ERin

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  10. Erin we missed you and that is a great review. Purrs friend

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    1. Thanks, good books arent just for propping up the table, as Mrs H says ;)
      Purrs
      ERin

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  11. Hi ERin and mizzuz H; we think we just comminted over at werd prezz !!!! hay, itz grate ta see yur gorgeouz self again anda post az well; hope everee onez happee healthee and all that grate stuff !! ;) ♥♥

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    1. Happy and as healthy as can be these days! Glad you came by. More posts coming up as and when I can get Mrs H to read more books quicker andtake lessons in speed typing!
      Purrs
      ERin

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  12. Another great review ... another book added to the reading list!
    ps - We've missed you, ERin!

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    1. To save time, Mrs H saysjust buy the series and you can read along with me ;)
      Well worth sharing with your niece too....
      Purrs
      ERin

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  13. You do read a lot of great books! And we think you likely get lap time then, too...

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    1. Now you'd have thought so, wouldnt you, but it tends to be sofa time and tickles. Middle grade YA books are so exciting and well written. Mrs H says we can read them as we are writting our own story in that age group and it counts a research :) But the stories are written better and more adventuresome as they are written for enquiring, open minds. That is a difficult market to enter as kids really are tough critics....
      Purrs
      ERin

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