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Murder Is Bad Manners: 11/29/17

Murder Is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens

Murder Is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens is the first of Murder Most Unladylike middle grade mystery series. Let me preface this review by saying I read the American edition of a British series. In the UK, the first book is titled Murder Most Unladylike. The author happens to be from California but has lived and studied in Oxford. Until I can read the original Corgi edition, I'm going to give the author the benefit of the doubt and place the faults with the American edition. As I've noted before there are often idiotic changes made to imported books from the UK and rest of the commonwealth.

The main character is a recent immigrant to England from Hong Kong. She ends up discovering the body of one of her teachers only to have the body go missing before she get the authorities to the scene. She and her English friend, Daisy, set out to discover the truth.

I can only recommend this edition to readers who know nothing about genuine British culture. Readers who have never read an actual British children's story and have never watched a genuine British TV show can enjoy this boarding school mystery. The more though that you know about the culture the more jarring you'll find this book.

Hazel, our Cantonese protagonist, sounds more like Chloe from We Bare Bears than a genuine immigrant to England. None the less she is set forward as the one who will explain the oddities of British culture to confused American readers. I'm curious to see how her asides play out in the Corgi edition, frankly.

Why not make her American (or even Chinese American from San Francisco) and thus give yourself an out for whenever something doesn't come across as British? The numerous mistakes in word choice and general cultural knowledge kept me from enjoying an otherwise fine murder mystery. The thing that finally did me in was when the edition gets the wrong date for Guy Fawkes Day.

Two stars

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