Blog Tour Review: Premeditated Myrtle and How to Get Away with Myrtle

Title: Premeditated Myrtle (Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries #1)
Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science. Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies toxicology, keeps abreast of the latest developments in crime scene analysis, and Observes her neighbors in the quiet village of Swinburne, England.

When her next-door neighbor, a wealthy spinster and eccentric breeder of rare flowers, dies under Mysterious Circumstances, Myrtle seizes her chance. With her unflappable governess, Miss Ada Judson, by her side, Myrtle takes it upon herself to prove Miss Wodehouse was murdered and find the killer, even if nobody else believes her — not even her father, the town prosecutor.

Review:

In 1893, Myrtle Hardcastle is a twelve-year-old girl who loves to study crimes. Her father is a prosecutor and her mother studied medicine. One evening, she notices some strange activity at her neighbour’s house. She calls the police and they find that her elderly neighbour has died. They think it was natural causes but there are too many clues that suggest to Myrtle that this was murder. With the help of her governess, Miss Judson, Myrtle investigates the murder of her neighbour.

Myrtle is a clever young girl. She reminds me of Nancy Drew and Flavia de Luce. Her family life was also similar to those classic detectives, since she lived with her father and her mother died when she was a child.

This was a great mystery. It could be read by middle grade children or adults. It had some mature themes, with murder and poisoning, though nothing too graphic. One part that was disappointing was that one of the major clues was glossed over at the end. A character’s past wasn’t fully explained. I even went back to reread that section but I don’t think there was a clear answer to that clue.

This is a great start to a new mystery series!

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Title: How to Get Away with Myrtle (Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries #2)
Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Before the train has left the station, England’s most accomplished new detective already is on a suspect’s trail, and readers will be delighted to travel along. 

Myrtle Hardcastle has no desire to go on a relaxing travel excursion with her aunt Helena when there are More Important things to be done at home, like keeping close tabs on criminals and murder trials. Unfortunately, she has no say in the matter. So off Myrtle goes—with her governess, Miss Judson, and cat, Peony, in tow—on a fabulous private railway coach headed for the English seaside. 

Myrtle is thrilled to make the acquaintance of Mrs. Bloom, a professional insurance investigator aboard to protect the priceless Northern Lights tiara. But before the train reaches its destination, both the tiara and Mrs. Bloom vanish. When Myrtle arrives, she and Peony discover a dead body in the baggage car. Someone has been murdered—with Aunt Helena’s sewing shears.

The trip is derailed, the local police are inept, and Scotland Yard is in no rush to arrive. What’s a smart, bored Young Lady of Quality stranded in a washed-up carnival town to do but follow the evidence to find out which of her fellow travelers is a thief and a murderer?

Review:

Myrtle Hardcastle, her Aunt Helena, and her governess Miss Judson have been sent on a vacation in a seaside town. As soon as they board the train, Myrtle can sense a mystery coming. A priceless tiara is on display on the train, with an insurance investigator on board to protect it. However, the tiara is stolen during a power outage on the first night. Myrtle and the insurance investigator, Mrs. Bloom, search the train for clues. The next day, Mrs. Bloom can’t be found. Her body is eventually found in the luggage car when they arrive at their destination. The murder weapon points to Myrtle’s Aunt Helena. Myrtle doesn’t trust anyone else to investigate the connection between the robbery and Mrs. Bloom’s murder, so she takes the investigation into her own hands.

I enjoyed this story more than the first Myrtle Hardcastle mystery. The first one was a good introduction to the characters. This one had a clear, straight forward mystery to solve.

I loved the classic setting of a train. It is an enclosed setting that limits the people who can be involved. The murderer has to be on the train with everyone else because there isn’t any way to escape the train without getting hurt. This is a great classic setting.

I’m looking forward to reading more Myrtle Hardcastle books in the future!

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1) by Marthe Jocelyn

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce #7) by Alan Bradley

About the author:

Elizabeth C. Bunce grew up on a steady diet of Sherlock Holmes, Trixie Belden, and Quincy, M.E., and always played the lead prosecutor in mock trial. She has never had a governess, and no one has ever accused her of being irrepressible, but a teacher did once call her “argumentative”—which was entirely untrue, and she can prove it. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and their cats. Premeditated Myrtle is her first book for middle-grade readers. You can find her online at elizabethcbunce.com.

Have you read Premeditated Myrtle or How to Get Away with Myrtle? What did you think of it?

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