Title: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place
Author: Julie Berry
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan imprint)
The students of St. Etheldreda's School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home—unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong. But when someone else in their village drops dead, the girls realize that not only is their independence at risk, but also their lives. The stakes couldn't be higher.
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is a clever mystery anchored by seven rather quick-witted and intelligent young ladies. With their headmistress and rather odious brother suddenly dropping dead over dinner, the girls must work together in order to discover the reason, and if need be, the culprit.
All seven girls have their own reasons for deception and keeping the sudden deaths in the house secret. All seven girls have their own tragic histories, their own home lives they'd rather avoid returning to, and their own desire to stay together. They've finally, even if it did occur in a rather unsavoury manner, found a place to call home, found people they care for and who care for them. Each girl is supportive of the other. They all want to discover what happened.
The mystery is rather clever, with different layers and pieces to be put together. And clues dropped here and there that string both the reader and the girls along, leaving them to uncover the truth.
This is a very intelligent, humourous, clever, and witty story. It pokes fun at whodunit-type mysteries and gifts us with a cast of young ladies whom no one expects would know what to do in this situation. A definite read for fans of middle grade historical and mystery books and girls who take charge in order to solve a mystery.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)