Thursday, March 22, 2012

YA Edgar Nominee Review: The Girl Is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines

The next book in my YA Edgar nominees read-o-rama is The Girl Is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines. As the cover hints, this YA mystery takes us to the forties, when Iris is struggling with the familiar YA stand-by: new school, new people.

But in the historical context, this YA cliche became fresh and interesting. Iris goes from a private to public school after her mother dies, and finds herself hanging with not-so-popular Pearl. To make matters worse, her P.I. father, an injured war veteran, is hanging on by a thread financially--which is what prompts Iris to help him with his cases. Her stubbornness is endearing, and her search for belonging in her new life recognizable.

Iris' quest shifts when a boy at her new school goes missing, and she begins her amateur sleuth quest for his whereabouts. We quickly get caught in some girl-drama, 1940s style. The historical detail in setting, dialogue and social mood were spot-on; big kudos to the author for getting the details right. This historical context got in the way of the story though, and the mystery's resolution felt a little disappointing to me. Still, The Girl Is Murder is a very solid P.I. mystery, well-plotted, and a unique read.

Verdict: recommended for a teen-view of the 1940s in America, probably better-suited for girls.

Mystery Quotient: 5 out of 5; a solid P.I. mystery.


  1. I met her once and she was just a terrific person so I am very glad for her success. Suppose that shouldn't matter, but it does.

    Thought you might be interested in this.

  2. It matters. I like it when nice authors see success.

    That article looks fascinating, heading over now... Thanks!