BOOK REVIEW: Premeditated Myrtle {A Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery} by Elizabeth C. Bunce

"It is hard to describe loss to someone who has never experienced it, impossible to explain all the ways it changes you. But for those who have, not a single word is needed."

Having grown up devouring the likes of Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Boxcar Children, Enola Holmes, and Harriet the Spy, I was quick to find myself intrigued by Elizabeth C. Bunce's Premeditated Myrtle. Though, at times, a bit verbose and dragged-out; my overall impression of Premeditated Myrtle is a positive one due to the incredible cast of characters, and entertaining excerpts from Principles of Detection at the start of each chapter.

The year is 1893. Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle isn't your typical Victorian England preteen. For one, she is forever forgetting the maddening expectations set forth to be considered a Young Lady of Quality. For another, she is grossly obsessed with crime, criminal science, and toxicology - a fact that shouldn't surprise you given the fact that she is the daughter of a prosecutor father, and a {now-deceased} medical student mother. Myrtle's ultimate dream is to be an investigator much like Sherlock Holmes; so when murder comes knocking in her sleepy Swinburne, England village in the form of the suspicious death of her elderly next-door neighbor, Miss Wodehouse, she appoints herself lead investigator. Or rather, the only investigator, save for her governess, Miss Ada Judson, as the unanimous opinion of local officials {including her father} is that Miss Wodehouse died of natural causes in the form of a heart attack. Myrtle, however, knows better. And Miss Judson trusts Myrtle's investigative sixth sense.

To some, Miss Wodehouse may have been considered a wealthy spinster. But Myrtle, having spent much time spying on Miss Wodehouse's home from her window, knows that there is more to Miss Wodehouse than just money. Namely that she was an eccentric breeder of rare flowers. Rare flowers that any number of people would go to great lengths to obtain. Even murder. As a duo of conniving so-called heirs quickly make their way onto the scene, Myrtle is convinced that it is her public duty to thoroughly investigate their ulterior motives and possible hand in Miss Wodehouse's untimely death; but in so doing, she places herself and loved ones in grave danger.

If I'm being honest, I have to say that I found this book to be a little bit too long. Don't get me wrong, I do love a mystery I can truly sink my teeth into; but, at times, I found myself growing bored with the storyline, and just wanted to see the mystery wrapped up once and for all. That said, the cast is incredibly well-drawn, and one of the greatest I have ever encountered in MG fiction.

You have the MC, Myrtle, who is both clever and witty, and would serve as a brilliant BFF. Then there's the ever-patient and encouraging, Miss Judson, who is remarkably reminiscent of Ole Golly from Fitzhugh's timeless classic, Harriet the Spy. Special mentions to both Mr. Blakeney, an entertaining solicitor-in-training; and Cook, who proved her muscle time and again throughout the tale. And it would be wrong of me not to mention the indomitable Peony, Miss Wodehouse's cat who has since been adopted by Myrtle, and went to great {brave} lengths to assist in the investigation. I have already purchased the sequel, How to Get Away with Myrtle, on Kindle, and cannot wait to reacquaint myself with this fabulous cast!

Star Rating: ***1/2



Ivy's Closet said...

Oh, everyone needs a good mystery! Thanks for your very lovely review. Very interesting.

ellie said...

Wonderful review! So fun to learn of this series. Great!

Caitlin&Megan said...

So glad you picked this one. Good to hear about this very interesting cast, too.

Hollyn'Stevie said...

It looks very entertaining. Love the name of the cat too!

R's Rue said...

Wonderful review. Thanks friend.

© cat eyes & skinny jeans | All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig