Premeditated Myrtle

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Member Reviews

This is a fun historical murder mystery in the same vein as Sherlock Holmes but with a twelve-year-old Sherlock (Myrtle, the daughter of a famous prosecutor) and an adult Watson (Miss Judson, Myrtle's governess). The character development and plot twists kept me on my toes, and I found myself more invested in solving the mystery of Miss Wodehouse's murder as the book went on. 

Unfortunately, while I enjoyed this as an adult, I'm not sure it will have as much "kid appeal." The language is dense and hard to follow--it's overly flowery even for the late 1800s--and the footnotes are more cumbersome than humorous or informative. Overall, I'm not sure the writing is suitable for its intended audience.
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A promising first installment to the series, Premeditated Myrtle has a lot to like with a compelling mystery and a great cast, especially those centre-stage: Myrtle and Miss Judson are wonderful in their interactions with each other and those around them.
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Escapist mystery at its finest. Loved the nods to mystery classics, and the story felt steeped in old tradition but with new twists. Myrtle is a great character.
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An entertaining middle grade novel that is a wonderful introduction to the mystery genre. A great read for children and adults!
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Myrtle Hardcastle, a precocious 12 year old, is dead set on solving the suspicious death of her elderly neighbor.  She is sure it is murder and knows she, not the bumbling police, will solve the mystery.  With her governess Miss Judson in tow, she sets off on her investigation around the neighborhood.  While others might label her nosy, Myrtle believes she is just highly observant of her surroundings.  With her knowledge of medicine and law combined, Myrtle is sure to solve the case and prove her worth to those who doubt her abilities. While the police brush off her efforts, Myrtle carefully follows the clues and examines the wide range of suspects, drawing ever closer to the killer.  
Premeditated Myrtle was a highly entertaining middle grade historical mystery.  Myrtle was a fierce protagonist;  smart, observant and sassy, reminiscent of Flavia de Luce.  The mystery was well plotted and included some basic knowledge of the law middle grade readers and adults alike will delight in.  Miss Judson was the perfect Watson to Myrtle's Holmes, adding humor and guidance at just the right intervals.  I look forward to more adventures featuring the intrepid Myrtle and the unflappable Miss Judson.  Readers of the Flavia de Luce series, looking for a mystery with a similar feel will enjoy this new mystery featuring a new to the scene youth detective.
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This was a cute, middle grade mystery. A bit predictable, but Myrtle is a likable heroine. She reminded me of Flavia de Luce a tiny bit. As much as I enjoyed Myrtle, it's really her governess, Miss Judson, I can't wait to read more about. An adult spin-off series starring Miss Judson is something I would love to read, but if that never happens, I will satisfy myself reading more about Myrtle hoping for more Miss Judson along the way.
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12 year old Myrtle is a smart, spunky character that finds and solves the mystery of her elderly neighbor's death. Because of her age and intelligence, she reminded me of the wonderful Alan Bradley series with Flavia de Luce. However, Myrtle stands on her own. I enjoyed this book and think middle school readers will enjoy this mystery as well. 
Thank you Netgalley for the Advanced Reader Copy.  Now I have to wait for her next one!
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2.5 stars.

Myrtle is a young girl that works very hard at being unladylike.

Her father is a famous prosecutor, her mother (tragically passed) was very into medicine, her governess is from the exotic foreign place of New Guinea, and so Myrtle has spent  a lot of time not learning the things that proper young ladies should and instead has focused on science, police procedures, and law.

One morning she looks out her window and realizes that something is amiss at the neighbor's house, only for the police to discover that the lady of the house has passed away. Originally it seems that it was just old age and a heart attack, but Myrtle pushes the issue until they realize that indeed this is a case of murder. 

Running around, collecting evidence, Myrtle makes everyone a little frustrated in her intense desire to solve the case. Unwilling to share evidence with the police (since they're incompetent in the crime serials), refusing to listen to her father and often not listening to her governess, Myrtle almost sends an innocent man to the gallows and quite a few other suspects too.

Here's my issues with this book:

This is supposed to be children's fiction, and while I have read a lot of novels that have similar writing styles, this book felt like it was written for adults. From the very beginning it felt more like this was a partner to Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series, rather than a new middle grade story. There's a young girl with an intense interest in science and crime, she is motherless, she is annoyed by two friends who "torture" her, she is well known to the police, and she has conversations with the cat Peony much like Flavia does with her bicycle Gladys. It's set about 60 years prior to Bradley's series, so not all of the scientific discoveries are known to Myrtle, but she still knows a lot and still has her own lab where she conducts experiments to help solve the case. I'm not trying to claim that children can't read this, or that this would be above their level, it is just that the style of writing feels more geared towards adults then preteens. The constant comments to Dear Reader seemed patronizing also, instead of the quiet aside that they should feel like. 

I also didn't enjoy all of the footnotes. Rarely did they actually add anything to the story. They had extra details, but most of the time those details could have been added into the story without disrupting the flow of the writing, and having them as footnotes made this feel cumbersome and textbook like. Also, this has nothing to do with the book but the formatting that I received it in, but because of the way I received the digital copy, the footnotes were never in the right spot. Instead of being at the bottom of the page, they ended up being in the middle of a paragraph and so far away from the original note that I had to constantly go back and forth between pages to try and figure out which footnote went with which comment of the story.  Other formatting notes, I hated the mixed up titles of the chapters. While it wasn't hard unscrambling them, there didn't seem to be a point of having them scrambled. Also the quote from Myrtle's book at the start of each chapter showing that she becomes a famous detective one day (I assume that's what it's trying to show since it's from her book "Principles of Detection" and it's not mentioned anywhere in the story that she is writing this.), very rarely add anything to the story and instead make Myrtle a more disliked character. Again, it's a feeling of condescension from the character.

I really wanted to like this book because I'm a mystery fan, and I enjoy young kids being the detective because that's what I wanted when I was young, but this just didn't work for me, and I don't see many middle schoolers enjoying it also. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe this is what some preteens will like, it just didn't fit into the categories I was given.
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This book reminded me a lot of the Westing Game - it was a fun detective story with an enjoyable cast. While it was a little predictable for an adult reading the book, this would be a great choice for younger readers
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Myrtle Hardcastle is the inquisitive daughter of a solicitor.  She spends much of her time with her governess, Miss Judson.  Together they investigate the death of their neighbor which Myrtle is convinced is murder.  Myrtle uses her medical knowledge from her late mother and her legal knowledge from her father to ultimately solve the case with a cast of interesting characters that range from a legal aide to a sensation writer.

I adored this book.  I  couldn't stop reading it.  I was especially compelled to continue reading because of how well written the characters were.  It's hard not to love Myrtle's determination.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.
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Meet Myrtle Hardcastle, an incredibly intelligent and precocious girl.  She reads law textbooks, studies toxicology and solves mysteries.  
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, following in the footsteps of Myrtle who becomes engrossed in a local murder mystery.  I thought she was funny and endearing- although not everyone likes her.  
I love a good mystery and this one kept me guessing to the end, it was full of twists and turns and superb characters.  
Myrtle notices something is amiss with her elderly neighbour and after notifying the police, Myrtle takes it upon herself to explore the crime scene, meet potential suspects and interrogate the coroner.  She is feisty and formidable for a young girl- much to her father and governess's chagrin.  Her father despairs of her but I think is secretly proud of her.  Miss Judson, her governess, encourages her to learn but also likes to be embroiled in the mysteries.  She challenges Myrtle, makes her questions things and they make a brilliant team.
I hope this will become a new series as I enjoyed meeting Myrtle and seeing her discover the truth of the murder.  
I will be watching out for more of this series!
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