A fantastic series of schoolgirl capers that draw as much from Sherlock Holmes as Malory Towers, the Wells and Wong Mysteries are an absolutely delightful series of books about Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, investigators extraordinaire!
The first book, Murder Most Unladylike, takes place at Deepdean School for girls, where they find a teacher dead in the gym. Only then the body goes missing, and the girls have to work out not only who committed the crime, but that a murder took place at all! Subsequent books see Hazel and Daisy solving murder cases at Daisy’s house, in a Cambridge College and even on the Orient Express! All of the stories are really great reads, and they all retain the nostalgic feel of old-school boarding school stories with less of the white-washing. Hazel Wong is originally from Hong Kong, and is one of the first narrators of colour that I have ever seen in a boarding school book. Robin Stevens doesn’t shy away from the implications of this – Hazel experiences casual racism in a way that would be expected in the era the book is set in, and it is very clearly shown as not okay. There’s a whole lot of other fantastic representation within the books as well, but I digress.
This series is really great. I love the characters, and the mysteries are a lot of fun. Robin Stevens does a fantastic job of keeping the story twisting and turning so that the reader is constantly trying to guess where they need to look next – which is EXACTLY what you want from a mystery.
These books are really great stories for any child who enjoys Enid Blyton’s school stories, and I’d definitely recommend them for any child who is looking at what to read next having consumed them all. Readers who enjoy this series will likely also enjoy Katherine Woodfine’s Sinclair Mysteries series (starting with The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow). Some will also enjoy Elen Caldecott’s Marsh Road Mysteries (though I’d say that these are aimed at children who are a little younger), and any who prefer their detective stories with a hint of noir and a hefty dose of fantasy would absolutely LOVE Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant.