One of my biggest challenges in my book blogging life is keeping on top of my ever increasing to be read pile. However there are some books that when I finally get my hands on them immediately leap to the top and ‘Jolly Foul Play’ by Robin Stevens is one of them. I’m a huge fan of the Murder Most Unladylike series and there has been an amazing reaction from all the children who I have recommended them to in the school library. For me the winning formula is the way that Robin captures the vintage feel of the 1930s but it manages to be modern and relevant at the same time.
In ‘Jolly Foul Play’ Daisy and Hazel have returned to the scene of the first murder as they start a new term at Deepdean full of optimism and excitement about becoming fourth formers. However tensions are running high as the atmosphere at school is heavily laden with the constant threat from the new head girl Elizabeth Hurst and her team of prefects. Their meanness and bullying pervades the school at all levels as they deliver their punishments and try to make everyone’s lives a misery. But things come to head when under the cover of darkness and explosions Elizabeth is discovered dead. While it’s assumed to be an unfortunate accident by the school, Daisy and Hazel are immediately suspicious and begin to draw up their list of suspects as to who may have committed such foul play. Friendships are tested, secrets are revealed and the Detective Society is struggling to stay together. Can they overcome all these hurdles and solve the case?
‘Jolly Foul Play’ feels a lot darker than previous books in the series having a list of suspects drawn from the older girls in the books makes the story feel tense and more dangerous. The fall out in the relationship between Daisy and Hazel feels really disconcerting but children reading will be able to strongly identify how easily misunderstandings can have a damaging effect on friendship. It also illustrates the damaging effect and emotional impact bullies can have on individuals with cruel behaviour. However it still jammed packed with humour and bun breaks, one of my favourite lines in the book is when Hazel says, “I was so angry that I only thought about the sticky toffee pudding twice on the way out.” The story keeps you guessing right to the end and I failed miserably once again to identify the murderer. Luckily that I’m not part of the Detective Society as I would be far too distracted by the cakes to be of any use.
This series is a total delight I cannot recommend it enough and I’m thrilled that we have more to come from the lovely Robin Stevens and the Murder Most Unladylike series. Robin crafts the story in such a way that you are totally compelled throughout and are swept along with all the thrills of the case. For me Daisy and Hazel feel totally real having been written with such great depth, humour and insight they are totally irresistible. So excited for the fifth book in the series due in Autumn 2016 and I’ve heard whispers that it’s a Christmas story, what can be more exciting than festive bun breaks.
You can read my review of ‘First Class Murder’ here
To find out more about Robin you can visit her website or follow her on Twitter @redbreastedbird