September Book of the Month

Death Sets Sail by Robin Stevens

Death Sets Sail is the 9th and final book in the hugely successful Murder Most Unladylike series.  It is the most popular series of books for Years 7 and 8 in this library and copies are rarely to be found on the shelves.  It’s also a popular choice in the Hodgson household, my daughter having fallen in love with Daisy and Hazel from the moment she read the first investigation by the Wells and Wong Detective Society.  (She loves the floor plans, the suspect lists and the guides at the back of the book too!)

We started to read it together until she read the words “perhaps that way I can bring Daisy back to life”.  At this point, she opted out and couldn’t bring herself to read about the demise of the detective duo that had clearly made an enormous impression on her.  I carried on solo and I’m so glad I did.  As a series finale, it is everything a true fan could have wanted with our favourite characters returning to help out and so many plot twists and turns you are kept guessing all the way through.  It’s a quite brilliant last hurrah for Daisy and Hazel.

Inspired by Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, the plot centres around a group of English tourists who believe themselves to be reincarnations of the Ancient Egyptian Pharoahs.  Naturally, one of them is murdered and the MMU detective team is tasked with finding the killer before the boat reaches its destination.  There is a great sense of place in this story, you are immediately transported to the dusty, hustle and bustle of Egypt.

For me, the beauty of these books, and why I think they are so loved by young people, is in the development of the characters and the friendship between Daisy and Hazel.  By Death Sets Sail they are 16 years old and the book accurately reflects the changes and the challenges of female friendship, in particular when romantic interests are inserted.

This has been a wonderful series and I will miss Daisy and Hazel’s adventures enormously.  Thankfully, there’s a hint that further mysteries are to come in 2022 with Hazel’s little sister May, in the Ministry of Unladylike Activity, so we need not feel so bereft.  If you haven’t yet already become obsessed with the series, I suggest you reserve a copy from the library right now so you can catch up!