The Very Merry Murder Club is a collection of thirteen winter mysteries edited by Serena Patel and Robin Stevens. It’s a wonderfully diverse anthology including stories written by thirteen different authors. The stories, many taking place at Christmas, introduce characters from a variety of ethnic backgrounds as well as single parent families, same sex parents, disabled characters and children in care.
From Inverness to Cornwall, from The Midlands to London in 1776, there’s a story for everybody. Not all include murders, several are crimes set at Christmas and there are some strange snowy secrets to uncover too. All the stories have determined young main characters who manage to solve puzzles and riddles to uncover murderers, thieves and dreadful beasts.
Our favourite stories were two of the murders – neither of them are gruesome and they’re written in a non scary way. The ballerina mystery in Scotland was really puzzling but the autistic main character was determined to prove foul play – it was such a cleverly planned murder. We also love the wonderfully atmospheric hotel in the Scrabble mystery – when the Hassan family break down on their way to their grandmother’s house for Christmas they find themselves in the middle of a mystery when one of the guests in the isolated country hotel is found dead.
The Christmas stories also include a theft at Santa’s hospital grotto, a very strange Christmas Funhouse and a sabotaged Christmas dance show. We also enjoyed the environmental New Year mystery which had us turning the pages to find out whether there really was a beast of Bedleywood. There are also jewel thieves, cat burglars and a story set in an ice cold fantasy world that is threatened by a mysterious beast.
The main characters in each story are brave, curious, independent thinkers who are determined to uncover the truth behind mysterious situations. Often their actions could put them in danger but their determination is admirable. The thirteen authors have done such an amazing job of creating characters and their worlds whilst creating compelling stories with interesting and unusual twists.
Harry Woodgate’s black and white illustrations are full of wonderful detail and we love the way that each chapter starts with a book cover showing the title of the story and the name of the author.
Each story includes fabulous black and white illustrations which add to the mystery and atmosphere whether it be snowy, festive or dangerous…
The Very Merry Murder Club is a great book to introduce children to new authors and would make a wonderful Christmas gift for young readers who enjoy crime solving and mysteries with unexpected twists. The book has a sturdy, glittery dust jacket and there’s a wonderful surprise underneath – an amazing scene on the hardback cover includes elements from each of the stories that you can spot in the artwork.
Age Range: 8 +
Authors: Abiola Bello, Annabelle Sami, Benjamin Dean, E.L. Norry, Elle McNicoll, Dominique Valente, Joanna Williams, Maisie Chan, Nizrana Farook, Patrice Lawrence, Roopa Farooki, Serena Patel, Sharna Jackson.
Illustrator: Harry Woodgate