Thursday, November 03, 2022

A Spoonful of Murder

Stevens, Robin. A Spoonful of Murder (Wells and Wong Mysteries #6)
November 8th 2022 by Simon Schuster Books for Young
Copy provided by Edelweiss Plus

When Hazel's grandfather passes away, her rather expects her to make the month long journey back to Hong Kong to join the family in mourning. Since she has to be away from Deepdean, she demands that Daisy be allowed to travel with her. Upon returning home, she finds that her father's second wife has had a baby... a son, named Theodore. Because sons are considered more valuable in 1930s China, Hazel's nanny is assigned to him, and Hazel no longer is the favored child. It's difficult to explain to Daisy how wealthy her family is, and Daisy balks at many things (food, traditions) that she finds "foreign", but Hazel brings her to task and Daisy is apologetic. There is something odd going on with Hazel's father; he has business dealings with several people that seem to be going poorly, and he is not taking his recently deceased father's place in society the way that some want him to. After a party, a hair pin that was left to Hazel by her grandfather goes missing. Soon after, she is supposed to go with her former nanny, Su Li, to take her brother to the doctor. She and Daisy use the oppportunity to look around the building at the bank that is housed there, and see some suspicious activity. When Su Li doesn't come back soon, the girls go looking and find that the elevator is jammed. When it is finally fixed, they find Su Li murdered with Hazel's pin in her neck, and Teddy missing. It looks like someone is trying to frame Hazel. Could it be one of the Triads, criminal gangs that control much of Hong Kong? Or is it a business deal of her father's gone wrong. Along with Ah Lan, a boy who works in the household, Daisy and Hazel utilize their detective skills and with the help of Detective Leung (who is sent by one of the societies Hazel's father is ignoring) and try to get back her baby brother.

Strengths: Stevens' note at the end about how Hazel's world is long gone because Hong Kong has changed so much made me even gladder that she captured it in this book. She made sure to have sensitivity readers, did a lot of research, and even traveled there to make sure this was as authentic as possible. After five books that show Hazel in England, it is good to see her back home, dealing with the dynamics of her family and society.

Weaknesses: Daisy is quite unpleasant, and inserts herself into many situations where she is unwanted in a very obnoxious way. True to life, I'm sure, but I don't remember her being this difficult in previous books. Also, I don't know where the title came from. There are no spoons in the story. The title should have somehow worked in the pin.
What I really think: This is a great gateway book for Sayers and Christie, so I enjoy having it even though there are only a few students who read them. This is a great investment series; it might not be wildly popular like Wimpy Kid, but it will stay on the shelves for many years and be as relevant in the future as it is now. I enjoyed it tremendously and can't wait to see what Hazel and Daisy get up to when they return to Deepdean.

1 comment:

  1. My two youngest kids have really enjoyed this series, it has been a bit hard to get them as our public library is not carrying them, so it has been a series we've had to purchase ourselves. My kids highly recommend them though.