Huzzah! I’m so excited to share that Premeditated Myrtle has received another starred review, this time from BookPage (you’ll recall that they hosted Myrtle on her Book 2 cover reveal blog tour a few weeks ago).
★ Premeditated Myrtle
When Myrtle Hardcastle’s elderly neighbor dies, she suspects foul play, but her concerns are dismissed. Still, you can’t deter a 12-year-old with a passion for forensics and a governess generally inclined to take her side. Premeditated Myrtle is a book young readers will love and adults may well sneak out of backpacks and off of nightstands for their own enjoyment.
Set in a small English village in the late 1800s, Elizabeth Bunce’s first book for middle grade readers charmingly evokes the spirit of Harriet the Spy, if Harriet were a bit more inclined toward afternoon tea. Myrtle has an investigator’s tool kit and access to her prosecutor father’s law library; she is curious to a fault, brave and persistent. Bunce keeps secondary characters grounded in reality as well—even a cat has an interesting character arc—and the quest to determine who killed Miss Wodehouse is as keenly plotted as the best adult cozy. Readers will encounter plentiful red herrings along with lessons in jurisprudence, and Myrtle helpfully defines period-specific language via chatty footnotes.
Myrtle faces down scary moments, such as being locked in a coroner’s office as a prank, by leaning into her curiosity. Her frustration with her father and governess, Ms. Judson, who maintain professional boundaries despite a clear attraction to one another, speaks to the affection she clearly feels toward both—even as she rolls her eyes. Their household is warm, and a through-line about the cook who perpetually attacks the stove in an attempt to fix it will make readers feel like part of the family. Here’s hoping for more adventures with this delightful, heroic protagonist.