First Class Murder
By Robin Stevens
Paperback, 303 pages
2017, Simon & Schuster
Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells are back – during a vacation on the famous Orient Express, the girls find themselves in the midst of another murder mystery and theft.
I continue to be impressed with this series, from the character development to the plot. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series! This is right up at the top of my favorites list with Enola Holmes. The world needs more middle-grade series that are a mix of fun, important topics and bright, empowered youngsters.
I’ve not read any Agatha Christie (for shame, I know!) but I imagine this book is a bit like Murder on the Orient Express junior. The girls are actually on the Orient Express and Ms. Christie’s book has already been published. Shortly after their trip is underway, a murder takes place and a valuable necklace is stolen.
Hazel’s father has made her swear not to do any more detecting and believes that she needs to set a good example for the wayward Daisy. While Hazel’s father doesn’t understand her passion for detecting or acknowledge her skills, the two have a good relationship and she struggles between wanting to do what she feels is right and what her father wants. While the previous book delved into Daisy’s family, this one gives us a peek into Hazel’s.
As usual, the girls are clever, though not infallible. There is still some tension hanging around from their adventures in the last book, making Daisy a bit more touchy than usual. Once more, the girls must work hard to solve the murder under the noses of the adults around them – though they do sometimes rely on or get help from them. I dislike when adults are completely unreliable or clueless in kids’ books and shows.
I also like how, while Daisy is headstrong and committed to detecting at all costs, Hazel is the voice of reason and takes the murders they encounter very seriously. I think the book has the right amount of levity, mixed with the danger the girls keep finding themselves in.
If you enjoy middle-grade mystery, I don’t know why you haven’t picked up this series yet!