Hello! Today was a long day at school, but I don’t have too much homework so I was able to finish up this review!! A few months ago, Algonquin Young Readers sent me an advance copy of Cold-Blooded Myrtle, the third book in the Myrtle Hardcastle mysteries series, and I was so excited to read it!! This amazing middle-grade historical mystery comes out tomorrow, and I thought it was the perfect time to share my thoughts on the book with you all.
This review does not have spoilers for any of the books in the series, so you’ll be safe reading on, no matter now many of the books you’ve read. And with that, I’m going to dive into this review!
Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: October 5th, 2021
Genre: Middle grade, historical, mystery
*this review is spoiler free for all books in the Myrtle Hardcastle series*
An Edgar Award–winning series!
Twelve-year-old Young Lady of Quality and Victorian amateur detective Myrtle Hardcastle returns, and now she’s on the trail of a serial killer in her hometown of Swinburne.
When Mr. Leighton, proprietor of Leighton’s Mercantile, is found dead on the evening his annual Christmas shop display is to be unveiled, it’s clear a killer had revenge in mind. But who would want to kill the local dry-goods merchant? Perhaps someone who remembers the unresolved, long-ago scandal that occurred when he was a professor and archaeologist. When the killer strikes again, each time manipulating the figures in the display to foretell the crime, Myrtle finds herself racing to uncover the long-buried facts of a historical scandal—and the motivations of a modern murderer.
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion and my review.
Cold-Blooded Myrtle is set in the late 1800’s, and takes place in the small town of Swinberne. Myrtle, the main character returns in this fast-paced mystery, the third in the series of murders the twelve year old detective has had to solve. This time, she’s after a serial killer leaving recreations of historical deaths in their wake. As she investigates further, she begins to uncover secrets that have been long hidden, surrounding a scandal that took place more than a decade prior, years before she was born.
I think that of the three Myrtle books I’ve read, this one is probably my favorite. There are so many rich characters, all of which who have so much complexity. In this book, we learned a lot more about Myrtle’s mother’s past, along with a group of friends who she went to university with.
Myrtle’s never-ending curiosity gives her such great drive and motivation to keep searching, and her ability to think logically and think through difficult and complicated situations always amazes me. She is incredibly wise, but she is still very much a twelve year old, and I love the way that the author writes her age. She isn’t written as an immature five year old, but she also isn’t written as an older high schooler. It’s so important to have characters written like this, and Elizabeth Bunce does an incredible job in Cold-Blooded Myrtle, as well as all the rest of the books in the series.
The setting of the book series is also magical, and so well written. A small town in England is the perfect place for a Victorian era murder mystery. Reading the book I felt like I’d traveled back in time and was watching the mystery unfold right in front of me, and that made the book impossible to put down.
Elizabeth Bunce has mastered the art of writing in the style of the time period the book is set, and it doesn’t make the book confusing in any way.
Elizabeth C. Bunce is the author of the new Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery series, beginning with Premeditated Myrtle.
Her first novel, A Curse Dark as Gold, won the inaugural William C. Morris Award for a young adult debut novel and was named a Smithsonian Notable Book. Her high fantasy Thief Errant series includes the novels StarCrossed, A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best book for 2010, and Liar’s Moon, one of Kirkus Blog’s Favorite YA Novels of 2011. StarCrossed and A Curse Dark as Gold have appeared on Oprah’s Kid’s Reading List. Her novels have been named to the ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults list, and she is a three-time Kansas Notable Book winner. An accomplished needlewoman and historical costumer, Elizabeth lives in the Midwest with her husband, her cats, and a boggart who steals books.
Cold-Blooded Myrtle is an incredibly written book with a fun setting, a thrilling, fast-paced plot, and an irresistible cast of characters that will always make you smile!