February 1, 2016 • Cee • Reviews

Murder Is Bad Manners

Murder Is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens • April 21, 2015 • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Deepdean School for Girls, 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t, really.)

But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there’s more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.

Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?


First sentence: “This is the first murder that the Wells & Wong Detective Society has ever investigated, so it is a good thing Daisy bought me a new casebook.”

If you’re ever in need of detectives to solve a case, Wells & Wong Detective Society will surely be up to taking your case.

At their English boarding school, Deepdean School for Girls, set in the 1930s, Wells and Wong have solved the case of Lavinia’s missing tie, little missing knick knacks, and oh, a frickin’ murder! These girls were thrown into a dangerous murder mystery when Hazel finds the dead body of their teacher, Miss Bell, lying on the floor of their gym with a head wound. Who did it? Wells and Wong got immediately on the case, and boy oh boy, these brave girls are exceptional detectives.


  • You get to see detectives at work!

Think Nancy Drew, or any of your favorite kid-detectives! Perhaps even Sherlock and Watson. That’s what Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are in this adorable Middle Grade. They’re acting as detectives, trying to get to the bottom of the murder of Miss Bell. You get to see how they get information and how they solve the murder.

  • Murder Is Bad Manners is told entirely from Hazel Wong’s point of view.

You may ask, why is this so exciting? Well, it’s because it’s told from a Chinese character’s point of view, instead of the blonde English girl! How many books have you read that had the Asian character narrating? Not many! I love that she’s as much of a main character as her best friend, Daisy; she isn’t shoved to the background. They have equal footing in this book, and that’s what I love to see.

  • You join two brave girls—Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong—who keep investigating despite the danger that lurks.

You have Daisy Wells, the self-assured and demanding English rose, and Hazel Wong, the cautious foreigner who just wants to fit in.

Daisy can be reckless and dismissive of Hazel because she gets caught up in the thrill of the case. (It can get frustrating at times, especially if you’re Hazel.) Hazel is more level-headed and tries to get Daisy to see that they could be in serious danger. These two girls may be extremely different, but they balance each other out and push each other to do things they wouldn’t ever do. Daisy and Hazel are incredibly clever, and they use their wits to get as much information even if it’s dangerous. With their combined forces, they’re an effective team to solve a murder.

  • A murder has occurred right under their noses. 

It’s not every day young girls get to investigate a murder. This murder case of their teacher, Miss Bell is a major game changer in Daisy and Hazel’s career as detectives. I was absolutely riveted by the case. I loved seeing these girls slowly piecing together the timeline of Miss Bell’s murder by gathering evidence and ruling out the other teachers. It’s not fun and games even though it may be thrilling to be entangled in an investigation; lives are at stake, and I loved seeing these girls realize the danger of what they found.

Do I recommend Murder Is Bad Manners? YES. This is the type of Middle Grade I would’ve cherished when I was younger because it is a detective story (sleuths are awesome!); it’s set in 1930s (which is a time period I love reading about); it is narrated by an Asian character, who is one of the main characters; and it’s overall just so much fun. Join Wells & Wong’s Detective Society now!


2 Responses to “REVIEW | The Case of the Murder of Miss Bell! (Murder Is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens)”

  1. Alexa S. says:

    It took me a while to get really into it, but I really enjoyed this one! I thought it was a fun middle grade read (if a bit darker than I expected), and I definitely think I’ll continue on with the series.

  2. Sabrina Fox says:

    It sounds like such a good book! I definitely still love reading middle grade books before I pass them off to my cousins so I know who’ll appreciate what. Thanks for giving me the idea for this one!

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