Book Talk – The case of the drowned pearl

Book Blurb –

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are best friends, school girls and detectives. And, wherever Daisy and Hazel go, a mystery is sure to find them…

On holiday at the seaside, Daisy and Hazel discover a body on the beach. They soon realize this is Antonia Braithwaite, a famous swimmer, nicknamed The Pearl. It appears she has accidentally drowned but, myseteriously, she smells not of the sea, but of soap…

Hazel Wong came to England from Hong Kong to join the residential Deepdean School in 1934 where she met Daisy Wells. Quite unexpectedly, both of them found themselves solving real-life murder mysteries, kidnappings and midnight chases. Being the detectives came to be as ordinary to them as Geography lessons.

The story in The case of drowned pearl is set in August, 1936. Both the girls are 15 year old. They are invited by Daisy’s Uncle Felix and Aunt Lucy, along with their 2 other friends Alexander and George (another detective duo and rivals) to a seaside town, Saltings. Contrary to the hopes of the 4 children, the weather in Saltings turns out to be a spoilsport with gusty wind and heavy rain. Just when they came to believe the holiday was dampened, they find a dead body washed up on the beach. They recognise the body to be of the celebrated English swimmer, Antonia Braithwaite, who was staying at the same hotel as they were. Thus, begins their role as the detectives. Is it a case of accidental drowning like the town sheriff believes or is it a planned murder? There are 3 suspects with valid motives too.

Who are those suspects? What are their motives? Who is the murderer?

This book – The case of the drowned pearl was released this year as one of the books for the World Book Day. It is a mini mystery story on the lines of an earlier book – A murder most unladylike by the same author. It is only 75 pages long and a fast and engrossing read. The detective antics of Daisy and Hazel kept me hooked on until the very end. The narration switches alternatively between Hazel and Daisy establishing the difference in their personalities and how they approach a particular situation.

I found it interesting to note how the 15 year old minds worked to identify the loopholes in each of the suspects’ stories. I must say they donned the detective hats with finesse. The murder mystery got solved in the end but what remained a mystery throughout the book was the role of Uncle Felix and Aunt Lucy. The author did mention they worked secretly for the government and disappeared frequently turning up in disguises. This explanation did not work for me to let it pass that their role in the book was to take the children to the place where the murder had to happen in the plot, then remain absent throughout the story later turning up in the end to smoothen out the plot because they had connections in the police. This is not a downer, though.

You and your middle-grader are going to love this mini murder mystery story.

Book Details –

Author – Robin Stevens

Age group – 8 – 11 years (Middle-grade book)

Release Year – 2020

Publisher – Puffin Books

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