Book Review – Jolly Foul Play (Murder Most Unladylike #4)

Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m bring you my review of the next installment in the Murder Most Unladylike series with book four, Jolly Foul Play.

Synopsis
Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong have returned to Deepdean for a new school term, but nothing is the same. There’s a new Head Girl, Elizabeth Hurst, and a team of Prefects – and these bullying Big Girls are certainly not good eggs.

Then, after the fireworks display on Bonfire Night, Elizabeth is found – murdered.

Many girls at Deepdean had reason to hate Elizabeth, but who might have committed such foul play? Could the murder be linked to the secrets and scandals, scribbled on scraps of paper, that are suddenly appearing around the school? And with their own friendship falling to pieces, how will Daisy and Hazel solve this mystery?

Review
As always, Robin Stevens has written a beautifully balanced novel. Set in the middle of school politics and historical realities, we are sucked right back into the middle of the 1930s, where everything is becoming unstuck, in more than one way.

Back from their exciting adventure across Europe, Daisy and Hazel are once again faced with a murder at Deepdean… and this time, they were on the scene. Recruiting the rest of their dorm for help, reliability is key in the midst of division. Elizabeth, the new Head Girl, is causing trouble, and even her death doesn’t seem to have stopped it. Elizabeth has gathered secrets about so many of the students – some secrets that even must-know-everything Daisy doesn’t know. The Five are on edge, and when secrets starts appearing, shocking girl after girl, things at Deepdean only get worse.

At one point Hazel remarks on how much the grown ups seem to be missing while things unfold – such as accepting Elizabeth’s death as an accident. Reading these books as an adult, this really was a gently accepted reminder that sometimes there’s so much more going on below the surface than we see with children. It’s easy to forget that they have the same thought processes we do, and deal with the same pressures we have, just on their own scale, and it’s books like this that help me keep this in focus.

The mystery at the heart of the story is multifaceted, with secrets aplenty, and many reminders about the point in time we are dealing with. With judgements against sapphic relationships, Jewish persons at risk, and girls from ‘broken homes’ being shamed, there seems to be no end in sight to the secrets, and no end of suspects who would liked to have seen the back of Elizabeth.

I found this to be one of the best of the books yet, with more and more twists, and the pressures on Hazel and Daisy’s friendship, it’s a book that sends messages through the years.

Thanks for stopping by to join me for this latest installment. You can find the reviews for the books I’ve already shared below:
Murder Most Unladylike
Arsenic For Tea (#2)
First Class Murder (#3)
and then of course the Christmas book I reviewed in December
Mistletoe and Murder (#5)

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