Premeditated Myrtle (Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery 1)

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Pub Date 06 Oct 2020 | Archive Date 21 Dec 2020

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Description

Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science. Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies toxicology, keeps abreast of the latest developments in crime scene analysis, and Observes her neighbors in the quiet village of Swinburne, England.

When her next-door neighbor, a wealthy spinster and eccentric breeder of rare flowers, dies under Mysterious Circumstances, Myrtle seizes her chance. With her unflappable governess, Miss Ada Judson, by her side, Myrtle takes it upon herself to prove Miss Wodehouse was murdered and find the killer, even if nobody else believes her — not even her father, the town prosecutor.

With sparkling wit and a tight, twisty plot, Premeditated Myrtle, the first in a series from an award-winning author, introduces a brilliant young investigator ready to take on hard cases and maddening Victorian rules for Young Ladies of Quality in order to earn her place among the most daring and acclaimed amateur detectives of her time or any other.

Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science. Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies...


Advance Praise

"A joyful thing to behold. Set in Victorian England, this mystery gleefully overturns sexist norms and celebrates independent women of intellect, with Myrtle Hardcastle leading the charge."  —Booklist, starred review 

"Premeditated Myrtle is a book young readers will love and adults may well sneak out of backpacks and off of nightstands for their own enjoyment… Here’s hoping for more adventures with this delightful, heroic protagonist."  —BookPage, starred review 

"Bunce crafts a truly captivating murder mystery, throwing in a delicious mix of twists, red herrings, and relatives excluded from the family fortune. Myrtle is an entertaining protagonist, not afraid to get her hands dirty, sneak into mansions after dark to find a clue, or call out sexism of men toward her scientific interests or the racism toward her governess. The book will make readers yearn for more of Myrtle’s (mis)adventures."  —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 

"A saucy, likable heroine shines in a mystery marked by clever, unexpected twists."  —Kirkus Reviews 

"[A] clever and lively Victorian English village murder mystery . . . Bunce does an excellent job of making Myrtle the lead actor but gives her a strong set of (mostly female) supporters."  —The Horn Book 

“In the tradition of heroines like Flavia de Luce and Harriet the Spy, Myrtle is a fine example of the Victorian scientific female—smart, inquisitive and fearless. Written with a terrific mixture of humor and suspense, Premeditated Myrtle is a perfect read for any budding detective.”  —Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of the Her Royal Spyness series

"A joyful thing to behold. Set in Victorian England, this mystery gleefully overturns sexist norms and celebrates independent women of intellect, with Myrtle Hardcastle leading the charge."  —...


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ISBN 9781616209186
PRICE $17.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

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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I will admit that I was predisposed to like this based on the title alone. I was not disappointed. Our Myrtle and her stalwart governess are a formidable and vastly entertaining crime-solving team. The plot was sufficiently twisty and engaging, the characters fully formed, and the writing clever and tightly constructed. I can't wait to start the next one.

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Myrtle reminds me of a cross between Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy. With a lovely cast of supporting characters, a great mystery, and a strong willed lead character, Premeditated Myrtle has it all. I would definitely recommend checking this one out and am looking forward to reading more by Elizabeth C. Bunce.

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Who knew solving a murder could be so much fun?! Myrtle is a worthy addition to the ranks of middle grade detectives and of young women in the late 1800s who did NOT want to stay in the roles assigned to her by society (or her great-aunt Helena). There are plenty of twists and turns, plenty of dangerous situations and plenty of moments of laugh-out-loud fun, as well as a nicely diverse cast of characters. I'm waiting eagerly for Myrtle's next adventure. Recommended for mystery lovers of all ages, not just middle grade readers. Review based on an ARC received through NetGalley.

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