Book Review – Agatha Oddly: The Secret Key

Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m sharing my review of the middle grade mystery, Agatha Oddly: The Secret Key.

Meet thirteen-year-old Agatha Oddly – a bold, determined heroine, and the star of a stylish new detective series.

Agatha Oddlow has been a detective for as long as she can remember – she’s just been waiting for her first big case. And nothing gets bigger than saving the City of London from some strange goings-on.

With a scholarship to the prestigious St Regis School, a cottage in the middle of Hyde Park, a room full of beloved sleuthing novels, and a secret key that gives her access to a whole hidden side of London, Agatha is perfectly poised to solve the mystery of what’s going on. But just who can she trust when no one is quite who they seem…

I had my sights on this one for a while, after it was recommended to me by someone who also loved the Murder Most Unladylike series I’ve been working my way through. And although I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as those, it was a really fun read, with a protagnoist I came to care about.

Agatha has always wanted to be a detective, when we first meet her, she’s in trouble with the headmaster for breaking rules in the search of answers again. She even imagines a little Hercule Poirot on the seat next to her while he talks, and they place bets on how long the teacher will talk for. This isn’t the only time her imaginary detective companion pays her a visit, but she comes to rely more on herself than on him as the book continues.

When she witnesses a woman knocked down by a motorbike on her way to school, she’s as horrified as anyone would be. But what she does that most of us wouldn’t, is decides to investigate, and find some answers to this mystery. She’s sure there’s a bigger picture at play, and as more and more things seem to be linked to it, even her best friend and their new surprise fellow detective can’t help but agree.

Quickly, Agatha finds herself in hot water, and in more danger than she had anticipated. It doesn’t put her off, however. If anything, it prompts her to keep going, feeling more and more certain she’s onto something. Agatha is a kind, sweet soul who loves her father dearly, and misses her mother desperately. When, in the course of investigating, her father is threatened and she finds possible clues to her mother’s death, her protective instincts of both of them are raised hight.

It was an enjoyable read, watching someone who is a cross between a normal teenager and a genius detective at work, all while balancing schoolwork and friendships along the way. I can see why this series comes so well recommended, and recommend it myself to those in the middle grade bracket who enjoy a good riddle.

Thanks for stopping by today for this middle grade mystery review. If you’re a fan of middle grade or have children who are, along with the Murder Most Unladylike series, I highly recommend The Haunting of Aveline Jones, Fireborn, and Amari and the Night Brothers.


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