Well, friends, this has been quite a week in Myrtle’s world! I just wrapped a wild weekend of signing books for fans old and new at Planet Comicon Kansas City, but before that, we had some great news…
Morbid Myrtle to the rescue once more, solving murders in her Victorian English village.
It’s convenient that the Swinburne Village’s murderers are every bit as over-the-top and elaborate as Myrtle is dedicated to Investigating. This time around, the murderer signs the elaborate executions by rearranging The Display: each death scene meticulously created in the scale model of the village set up each year for Christmas. Of course, Myrtle would be determined to solve the crimes under any circumstances, but these serial killings seem to have some connection to her dead Mum. Myrtle, a White 12-year-old, has excellent detecting assistants: her French Guianese governess, Miss Judson, who is almost more dedicated to Investigating than Myrtle; White Mr. Blakeney, who still calls Myrtle by the nickname “Stephen”; and Indian British Caroline, whose father was Myrtle’s Mum’s college friend and who is also connected to the killings. Can they unravel the killer’s motives while Swinburne’s worthies are all implicated? What if Caroline’s and Myrtle’s parents are guilty? And why won’t Miss Judson and Myrtle’s father just kiss, already? Classical allusions and a secret society accentuate the Victorian feel, but Myrtle explains the history as much as she explains 19th-century engineering, so readers should only be puzzled by the mystery itself. Comical footnotes pepper the text, adding wit to prose which is already dryly funny. Clues abound, giving astute readers the chance to solve the mystery along with Myrtle.
Another excellent whodunit with a charming, snarky sleuth. (historical note) (Historical mystery. 9-12)
—Starred review, Kirkus Reviews, August 18, 2021
Cold-Blooded Myrtle will be here before we know it!
In the meantime, I am wrapping up revisions on Myrtle Hardcastle Book 4, so no more wild weekends for me for a while. It’ll be late nights toiling away over a hot keyboard…