In Myrtle Peril

Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries Book 4

Algonquin Young Readers | October 4, 2022
ISBN 9781616209216 | 368 pp | Grades 5-13

A Publisher’s Weekly Big Children’s Book for Fall 2022

The latest volume in the Edgar Award-Winning Series!

Myrtle Hardcastle—twelve-year-old Victorian Amateur Detective—returns to investigate the case of a missing heiress lost at sea, an inquiry that runs aground when a murder in plain sight has no apparent victim.

When a mysterious girl attempts to stake her claim to the Snowcroft family fortune, Myrtle’s father, a solicitor, is tasked to help prove—or disprove—the girl’s identity. Is this truly Ethel Snowcroft, believed to be lost at sea with her parents, or a con artist chasing a windfall? Mr. Hardcastle’s pursuit of the case takes a detour when he’s hospitalized for a tonsillectomy—only to witness a murder. Or does he? With no body at the scene, Myrtle and her governess, Miss Judson, fear the so-called murder was a feverish delusion—until a critical piece of evidence appears.

But where’s the victim? And who at the hospital could be harboring murderous intent? Myrtle is determined to find out before the killer comes after her father.

With stakes this high, her sleuthing has put Myrtle, her family, and the patients and staff at the Royal Swinburne Hospital In Myrtle Peril.

★ KIRKUS, starred review:

Another thrilling mystery from our young Victorian sleuth.

All the members of Myrtle’s household are suffering from malaise at the lack of crimes to investigate. Myrtle; her father, the Prosecuting Solicitor; and her brilliant governess, Miss Judson have no villainies to uncover, and it’s so dull. It’s exciting when Father gets pulled into the case of a long-ago shipwreck—is Sally, a White girl about Myrtle’s age, an heiress or a fraud? But the case of Sally-the-possible-heiress will have to wait; Father needs his tonsils removed (a dangerous surgery in 1894, even in a “marvelous specimen of modernity” like the Royal Swinburne Hospital). When Father witnesses a murder in the hospital, is it real or a delusion? Only Myrtle and Miss Judson, ably assisted by Sally and Peony, Myrtle’s talkative cat, can expose the truth. Myriad secrets all come back to the central mystery, and though some tertiary subplots are lightly developed, the mystery as a whole is charming. How can it be otherwise when solved by “a cat, a dog, two doctors, a journalist on crutches, an unemployed law clerk, a solicitor in pyjamas, a nurse with a cricket bat, a governess, an off-duty housekeeper, and one small frantic Investigator”? Myrtle’s family is White; multiple characters of color are present, including biracial French Guianese Miss Judson.

Enthusiastically, chaotically delightful. (Historical mystery. 9-12)

“The best thing to happen to youth mysteries since Trixie Belden.”Publisher’s Weekly