Premeditated Myrtle

Premeditated Myrtle
Age Range
Release Date
October 06, 2020
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Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science. Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies toxicology, keeps abreast of the latest developments in crime scene analysis, and Observes her neighbors in the quiet village of Swinburne, England.

When her next-door neighbor, a wealthy spinster and eccentric breeder of rare flowers, dies under Mysterious Circumstances, Myrtle seizes her chance. With her unflappable governess, Miss Ada Judson, by her side, Myrtle takes it upon herself to prove Miss Wodehouse was murdered and find the killer, even if nobody else believes her — not even her father, the town prosecutor.

With sparkling wit and a tight, twisty plot, Premeditated Myrtle, the first in a series from an award-winning author, introduces a brilliant young investigator ready to take on hard cases and maddening Victorian rules for Young Ladies of Quality in order to earn her place among the most daring and acclaimed amateur detectives of her time or any other.

Editor review

1 review
Mysterious Circumstances in a Small Village
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
In 1893, Myrtle is being raised by her father, a lawyer, and her governess, Miss Judson, after the death of her mother. Myrtle is very interested in the law, crime, and the art of detection, so she is especially interested when her older neighbor, Miss Wodehouse, is found dead in her bathtub. Miss Wodehouse raised and propagated Gilded Slipper lilies and was wealthy, and Myrtle feels that something is not right. Between the missing cat, the state of the garden, and details she uncovers (like the state of Miss Wodehouse's nightgown), Myrtle has plenty to keep her investigating. Add a niece and nephew who could inherit, and the plot thickens. Her father objects more for show than in order for real change to be made, and Miss Judson is ready to encourage her charge. The Victorian era was not a great time for a young lady to be interested in science, much less crime, but Myrtle manages to stay out of trouble most of the time, and even manages to make friends with Caroline, the daughter of Dr. Munjal. Will she be able not only to prove that Miss Wodehouse was murdered, but to solve the case?
Good Points
There were a lot of twists and turns that I didn't see coming, which I always appreciate in a mystery. Myrtle and Miss Judson rode bicycles, believed that girls were as good as boys, and dealt with the strictures of society during this time period in a realistic, if enthusiastic, manner. The way Myrtle was treated by her peers ran true to era.

In addition to the details of what it was like to live during this time, there were a lot of fun additons, like the reporter's involvement. The lilies added an interesting touch, as did the gardener.

Myrtle wasn't that nice; she was privileged and spoiled and did not take other's feelings into account. Comparisons to Bradley's Flavia de Luce are apt, but younger readers often enjoy characters who aren't necessarily great examples of behavior, like Junie B. Jones, so this is just a personal preference.

Readers who like Robin Stevens' Wells and Wong mysteries or Jocelyn's The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen, #1), or who aspire to read the great women mystery writers of the 1920s like Christie, Sayers and Wentworth, will love Myrtle's adventures and look forward to her second outing in How to Get Away with Myrtle, being released in October 2020.
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