Review! Murder is Bad Manners

MIBM-cover-July-2014Pre-Reading Thoughts:
Recently, I’ve been having trouble finding any books that looked good enough to read. I have been in the mood to read mystery or adventures books, and to be honest, I’ve been having trouble finding anything that looked good. Don’t get me wrong, I was able to find many books that are part of the mystery or adventure genre, but none of them looked really interesting. I saw this one amazon, and after reading a few customer reviews decided to go to my local library and check it out.

Post-Reading Thoughts:
The first thing that I am going to say is that the exposition isn’t that exciting. One of the things that I love about reading new books is being introduced into a new world. Unfortunately, the beginning of this story didn’t excite me as much as I would have liked. That isn’t to say that it was bad, more that it was mediocre.

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The UK edition of Murder is Bad Manners (the book was originally published in the UK)

The next thing that I noticed, after only reading a few pages in, is that the story was written with British slang. This is by no means a bad thing; in fact I enjoyed it because the setting for this story is a 1930’s British girl’s school. The only thing is that it may be a little harder for younger readers to get used to. Thankfully, there is a “dictionary” of sorts in the back which explains words that most US residents don’t know.

The author is quick in establishing the murder mystery, and if fact, a suspect list with motives is made early on. I appreciated this because it was a lot easier for me to keep up with all the characters. And especially in the beginning when I got confused with all the teachers I would just flip back to the suspect list and everything made sense again. Of course, as the girls learn more about each suspect the suspect list changes and the author writes a new one, so it is really easy to keep track of what the girls find out and how they process all the information.

When I started the book, I didn’t finish it in one day as I normally would (sometimes I take two). In fact, I moved extremely slowly through the first third (or so) of the book. Again with my first comment, I found the beginning a bit slow and not as exciting as I wanted it to be so I didn’t tear through it like I normally would have. Once I got through the first third (or so), I quickly picked up the pace. In fact, I finished the rest of the book in one sitting. The pace picked up a bit and it was exciting to see the way the girls reasoned through the suspect, and how they overcame their biases.

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Author Robin Stevens with “Murder is Most Unladylike” and its sequel “Arsenic for Tea”

My biggest complaint about the book was the relationship between Hazel and Daisy. Throughout the whole story, I never got the sense that Daisy and Hazel were best friends, or even good friends for that matter. Because I never got this sense, when I first started reading I was disappointed at how the author didn’t explain anything about their relationship. Luckily, as the mystery proceeded, Hazel revealed bits and pieces on how they met and became friends. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the little subplot about how they met and became friends (I won’t spoil anything too big here). Maybe, that’s how it was in the 1930’s, but I still didn’t like it. After reading some reviews on amazon.com that praised the relationship building between Hazel and Daisy I was excited to read about it, because I love that kind of character development. Needlessly to say, I was disappointed and found it to be the weakest point in the book.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It wasn’t the most exciting or best book that I’ve read, but I found it adequate. I got some chills while reading it, which is highly unusual for me when reading a book intended for the younger audiences. This is just the first book in the series and although I won’t be counting down the days until the other books get released, I probably will still give them a try when they are released. Overall, I would recommend giving this book a try.

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