‘Jolly Foul Play’ by Robin Stevens; an absolutely spiffing book review & A Sunday Selfie!
Welcome one and all, to the extravaganza that is the Sunday Selfies; a weekly celebration of companion bloggers from across the world started and hosted by The Cat On My Head Blog and Janet Blue.
But first, a spiffing book review—
With the bonfires all burnt out, the cinders raked up, and the sparklers all packed away for another year, Mrs H and I found the time to catch up on some missed sleep and a good read. These last few weeks, we have been sharing book four in the Murder Most Unladylike series, by Ms Robin Stevens, titled: Jolly Foul Play.
What’s it all about?
Having returned to their school after their adventuresome holiday on the Orient Express, Hazel and Daisy find that a new Head Girl has been appointed. Elizabeth Hurst is, as far as the rest of the students are concerned, nobodies idea of the ideal head girl, but seems to have the headmistresses approval. And so begins her reign of terror.
Using her deputies – five older school girls known ominously as ‘the five’ – she gathers details of each student. Then in a very discrete manner, uses it against them as a form of blackmail, and to stir up rivalries.
Then, during the Deepdene Girl’s School School bonfire night celebration, after the sparklers have fizzled out, a scream goes out. Elizabeth is found dead, a tragic, freak blow to the head from stepping backwards onto a rake.
The Headmistress and staff believe just that, and matters are resolved with the sacking of the school’s handyman and groundskeeper, Jones, who must have left the rake out.
Tragic though it was, the rest of the school think things will now return to a normal. But for schoolgirls, Daisy (President of the Detective Society) and Hazel (Vice-President and Secretary), this seems to have the hallmarks of a murder!
But with Elizabeth’s rod of iron rule gone, and ‘the five’ seemingly unable to control the younger students, things start to go down hill: discipline lapses, and the breaking of the school rules abounds.
Matters heighten when notes – torn from a notebook – start being found by the younger students. Each one reveals some indiscretion, or sin, of a student or their family which they would want kept secret. Whilst some are already known, others are shocking and nigh on criminal.
This has the effect of raising the tensions and driving wedges between once friends. Daisy has a soft spot for Jones and sets out to detect the case, find the motive, criminal and get Jones back with his good name restored. And all before any more secrets come out or anyone else murdered.
To help, Daisy and Hazel enlist the help of their dorm mates: Kitty, Beanie, and Lavinia. With a team of five, they match ‘the five’ prefects and start their hunt for clues in earnest. But to do it, they soon realise they need to uncover the very secrets of the five that kept them under Elizabeths control!
Now at this point, things start to go wrong for our friends, and there is a falling out, big time, in the Detective Society. All good friendships are based on trust, and it seems someone has committed an unforgivable sin and betrayed the Detective Society oath.
OK, so from here on, I will not offer you too much more as it will spoil the story, and yes, there is lots and lots more to come!
What I will say is that it comes in ways you do not expect, and the plot weaves its way back and forth and strikes just like a snake, or indeed, like a hockey player with the ball…….
What did we think?
WOW! Mrs H and I loved this book, in fact, we have this in paperback and on Audible too. Mrs H says thankfully her school was not quite as bad as this, though there was a time when…… OK, OK, apparently I can’t tell you what she got up to, well not at the moment. But what I can say is that the plot is rich and unique; interwoven with aspects of friendships, hardships, and the power or otherwise of secrets and those that use them – for better or worse.
Since the last book, our protagonists, Hazel and Daisy, have both matured in ways that show an intensity of emotions, aptitude and drive, which we feel mirrors life. This all helps create a realistic feel for the times and a promise of exciting things to come in the next story. Is there an international flavour? There sure is. Is there romance blooming? Well, I think that is one I shall leave up to the reader to decide – and the astute readers and detectives amongst you will maybe see clues that go beyond this story.
If you’ve not read any of the others in the series, at this point in the series and journey, I do recommend starting at book 1 as this will give you a far better insight and increased enjoyment of the characters, time period and events that are referred to.
Who should read this book?
Absolutely ages 8-9 upwards, of any gender. And also anyone that loves a great detective mystery that almost turns the pages for you. Adult readers: Don’t be put off by this being a middle-grade book, the series is very well considered and much loved – and where else do young detectives earn their stripes?
So, all that remains is to say “Jolly hockey sticks to one and all, and Jolly Foul Play!”
Want to buy a copy?
If you’d like to do a spot of detecting of your own, on and off the hockey pitch, the links below will take you to both USA Amazon.comand UK Amazon.co.uk. Should you happen to buy a copy, and we hope you will, Mrs H and I will earn a few pence that we will be passing on to our local cat and dog Rescue Centre.
USA Link to BOOK 4 ‘JOLLY FOUL PLAY’ from Amazon.com can be found HERE
UK Link to BOOK 4 ‘JOLLY FOUL PLAY’ from Amazon.com can be found HERE
USA Link to Book 1 ‘MURDER MOST UNLADYLIKE’ (US Cover) from Amazon.com, can be found HERE.
UK Link to Book 1 ‘MURDER MOST UNLADYLIKE’ (US Cover) from Amazon.co.uk, can be found HERE.
USA Link to Book 2 ‘ARSENIC FOR TEA’ from Amazon.com, can be found HERE.
UK Link to Book 2 ‘ARSENIC FOR TEA’ from Amazon.co.uk, can be found HERE.
USA Link to book 3 ‘A FIRST CLASS MURDER’ from Amazon.com, can be found HERE.
UK Link to book 3 ‘A FIRST CLASS MURDER’ from Amazon.co.uk, can be found HERE.
And finally, one more picture of me with the book………
…….. and a selfie of me, doing what comes naturally.
Next time I will be reviewing Book 5 in the series.
Between then and now I suspect, as it’s the WI’s annual, all-in, no holds barred charity Hockey match in aid of the Uppper Much-Mousing Red Cross, I’ll be nursing a few bruised shins, bloodied knees and an incidental/accidental black eye or two. Not all Mrs H’s I hope. Till then, we wish you all a safe, happy, and well-read week – sans the hockey sticks!
Toodlepip and Purrs!