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Once Upon a Crime (A Murder Most Unladylike Collection) by Robin Stevens

Title: Once Upon a Crime (A Murder Most Unladylike Collection)

A blue cover with black silhouettes of three girls. The black text reads Once Upon a Crime: Delicious Mysteries ad Deadly Murders from the Detective Society. The gold text at the top reads A Murder Most Unladylike Collection. The gold text at the bottom reads Robin Stevens.

Author: Robin Stevens

Genre: Crime, Historical Fiction

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 3rd August 2021

Format: Paperback

Pages: 336

Price: $14.99

Synopsis: A thrilling short story collection in the number-one bestselling, award-winning Murder Most Unladylike series.

Featuring six marvellous mini-mysteries, including four original, brand-new and never-seen-before stories!

Discover The Case of the Second Scream, set aboard the ship carrying Daisy and Hazel back from Hong Kong, and The Case of the Uninvited Guest, where Uncle Felix and Aunt Lucy’s wedding is the target for an unlikely threat. The Hound of Weston School sees the Junior Pinkertons investigating, and Hazel’s little sister May Wong shows her ambition to be the greatest spy ever in The Case of the Deadly Flat. The Case of the Missing Treasure sees the detectives crack fiendish codes to catch a daring thief who is targeting London’s most famous museums, while murder follows our sleuths on holiday in The Case of the Drowned Pearl.

The perfect book for all Detective Society fans and avid readers of the Murder Most Unladylike series.

A thrilling short story collection in the number-one bestselling, award-winning Murder Most Unladylike series.

Featuring six marvellous mini-mysteries, including four original, brand-new and never-seen-before stories!

Discover The Case of the Second Scream, set aboard the ship carrying Daisy and Hazel back from Hong Kong, and The Case of the Uninvited Guest, where Uncle Felix and Aunt Lucy’s wedding is the target for an unlikely threat. The Hound of Weston School sees the Junior Pinkertons investigating, and Hazel’s little sister May Wong shows her ambition to be the greatest spy ever in The Case of the Deadly Flat. The Case of the Missing Treasure sees the detectives crack fiendish codes to catch a daring thief who is targeting London’s most famous museums, while murder follows our sleuths on holiday in The Case of the Drowned Pearl.

The perfect book for all Detective Society fans and avid readers of the Murder Most Unladylike series.

~*~

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are back – with a few new adventures that take place between the events of previous books, and events that take place after the last Detective Society book, and Daisy’s fate could very well be revealed. Those who have read the previous novel will know what it is, yet there could be more to the story, and readers will be thrilled to find out what it is. Finally, we get a taste of May Wong, set to be one of the focuses of the next series, starting next year. The short stories are delightful, and full of murder, intrigue and great characterisation that allows Daisy, Hazel, and their friends to grow and explore the world beyond their schools and the different ways they all react to murder and crime.

These six stories are fun, and capture the imagination, taking us back to the Depression and the interwar period, questioning ideas surrounding race and gender in a society where at times, rigid ideas were more widely accepted, though individuals would have been less rigid in their worldviews, based on what they had experienced.

Each story is its own entity yet cleverly linked with each other and the ovels, harkening back to previous adventures. They have a delightful Famous Five feel about them with an extra dash of mystery and a hefty addition of inclusiveness that shows the world has always been vibrant and diverse, and that there are many ways to explore identity, history and mystery within literature, whilst showing what the world was like in the 1930s, and the stark differences that in 2021 seem old-fashioned yet allow the setting to come to life and allow readers to understand how things have changed since 1936 and the events that led to World War Two and the past seventy years of history. The short bites of the Detective Society neatly wrap up what Hazel and Daisy have been doing, and introduces May in 1939, slowly edging towards war and hints at what Daisy and Hazel will be doing during the war, whilst hinting at May’s ambitions to become a spy rather than a detective.

I loved these short stories, and am, hoping to go back and read more of the series, and get to know more about all the characters, as they are fun, diverse, complicated and show that we all have flaws and strengths that we should embrace and learn to use to make ourselves into the best person we can be. It is a great addition to a wonderful series. The characters are allowed to be themselves, at teach readers about the world of the 1930s, about diversity and acceptance and racism and how it manifested itself, but also looks at the power of friendship and the characters’ ability to accept each other for who they are, which is the most powerful aspect of these stories, and will continue to enthral readers for years to come.

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