By Author / Illustrator
Suspense & Thrillers
Nosy Crow Ltd
Paperback / softback
The perfect thriller for the long, hot school holidays. It's a long, hot summer. As the water drains away from the reservoir, a car emerges. And there seems to be a body in it, a body that then disappears... Daniel and Florence start to investigate and uncover a long-ago robbery, missing gold and murder. When the drought breaks, everything is swept downstream and the truth is revealed...Another thriller from the brilliant author of Murder at Midwinter.
I thoroughly enjoyed Fleur Hitchcock’s Murder in Midwinter so was very excited to read her latest offering, Waiting for Murder. It was just as good - fast paced, with plenty of thrills and twists.
Dan is spending the summer in the sleepy village of Sandford with his archaeologist Mum. While she is busy uncovering old bones, Dan finds a body of his own. As the water level in the reservoir drops an old car with what looks like a body inside is revealed, when that body disappears Dan and new friend Florence set about solving the mystery.
With a host of interesting characters and gossip in the village about lost gold and missing husbands there is plenty to keep you reading and guessing. The tension mounts as the storm, and the dam finally break for an edge of your seat finale.
This book would be perfect as an introduction to crime novels for younger readers and also great for fans of Robin Stevens and Sharna Jackson. Most suitable for children aged 10 – 14.
272 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Nicola Jenkins, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+
Waiting for Murder is a page-turning middle grade thriller suitable for lower secondary school students. The main characters Dan and Florence, both bored during the school holidays, meet up during one long hot summer. But boredom quickly turns to adventure when they get caught up in the middle of a mystery. As a damaged reservoir is drained, a submerged car appears, and a strange local woman ominously talks about bodies. The two young detectives cannot resist investigating but this puts their lives and those of their loved ones at risk. The nearer they get to solving the crimes the more dangerous it becomes until the final shocking chapter provides the perfect twist!
Fleur Hitchcock has written a modern day mystery which will appeal to children who enjoy who-dunnits, and grandparents and parents who recall enjoying reading Famous Five and Secret Seven books. But there is nothing old school about Waiting for Murder which is written with modern, believable characters. Despite the peril, the story is appropriate for years 7-9 and it is this that would make it a good classroom read as there are lots of cliffhangers and plot twists.
The end, whilst shocking, is satisfying as loose ends are tied up. A great read! In three words; exciting, dramatic, intriguing. Recommended.
272 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Ruth Cornish, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+
Murderously good! Fleur Hitchcock always manages to immerse the reader within her settings and Waiting for Murder is no exception.
It is a long, hot and dry summer and the heat radiates from every page. Swelteringly, detailed descriptions of record-breaking temperatures, dried up lakes, yellowing grass and uncomfortably sticky nights give the reader a vivid sense of place. It is impossible not to feel the oppressive roasting of the unrelenting sun and to delight in the refreshing cool of the river as we follow the trail of Daniel and Florence in their quest to solve a mysterious crime that has, quite literally, been hidden for years.
Daniel's mother is excitedly working on an archaeological dig, one of significance that absorbs her time and attention, leaving Daniel to his own devices. He strikes up a friendship with Florence and when a car is discovered at the bottom of the local reservoir, the pair begin to investigate. The car appears to have been lying beneath the water for many years and Daniel is convinced that he has seen the glimpse of a body inside it. Strangely however, the body is not in the car when the police begin their enquiries. Did Daniel imagine it? Has the body been moved? Where is it and more importantly, who is it?
As Daniel and Florence dig deeper into the mysteries of the village, their lives become increasingly perilous; it would appear that someone is trying to warn them off, or perhaps even to kill the young sleuths to prevent them from uncovering the shocking truth.
There is tension and drama as well as the comfort of friendship and loyalty. There are missing dead bodies, family feuds, robberies, swarms of bees and runaway hay bales to ensure that every page is sizzling with action and excitement. This is an absolute page turner that will have your palms sweating whilst you gasp in astonishment as the story unfolds. The final scene is quite literally electrifying; the heat wave finally breaks with a dramatic storm and the mystery is finally solved through the flashes of lightning and torrents of rain that finally clear the air.
Waiting for Murder is a treat for the senses. This is a scorchingly good read that you won't want to miss.
272 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Jo Clarke, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+