|Image from Goodreads
Title: Arsenic for Tea
Series: Wells and Wong #2
Author: Robin Stevens
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Publication Date: Jan 2015
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
Schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are at Daisy’s home, Fallingford, for the holidays. Daisy’s glamorous mother is throwing a tea party for Daisy’s birthday, and the whole family is invited, from eccentric Aunt Saskia to dashing Uncle Felix. But it soon becomes clear that this party isn’t really about Daisy at all. Naturally, Daisy is furious.
Then one of their party falls seriously, mysteriously ill—and everything points to poison.
With wild storms preventing anyone from leaving, or the police from arriving, Fallingford suddenly feels like a very dangerous place to be. Not a single person present is what they seem—and everyone has a secret or two. And when someone very close to Daisy looks suspicious, the Detective Society must do everything they can to reveal the truth… no matter the consequences.
REVIEW BY NIA 8:8
Arsenic for Tea is about two young girls called Hazel and Daisy Wong. They have spent many years at boarding school together and have grown to be budding detectives. Both girls are clever, friendly and get on well together. They complement each other well because one of them is very hyper and the other very serious. They both notice different things when working together which makes them a good team. Hazel’s family live in Hong Kong which means she goes back to Daisy’s house, in England, during the school holidays. Following a death of a fellow matron at Deepdean School where both girls helped local Inspector Priestly in solving the case. The girls did most of the detective work, although that would be unprofessional to record in the Inspector’s Report.
One school holiday there were some unusual happenings at Fallingford Manor. Daisy and Hazel have a new and rather suspicious governess for the holiday. Daisy’s birthday falls during the school break, so all of her family from across the world are coming to celebrate, including Daisy’s favourite uncle who just happens to be a detective. At the birthday tea there are murderous thought afoot and some intriguing family secrets are let out of the bag. Something untoward is in the tea, so when disaster strikes the girls (and their two friends) take it into their own hands to investigate the murder.
Arsenic for Tea started slowly allowing the reader to take in the setting and background story. As soon as the action started the book grew on me.
My favourite part of the book was when the case was falling into place, and all that remained was for the girls to do some secretive snooping to uncover the final clues. As you read the book you can try and solve the mystery yourself by picking up the clues scattered in the narrative. There was also a lot of suspense because people that you had formed a relationship with turned out to be prime suspects with an unknown past revealing another side to them.
The book was written in the third person from the view of Daisy’s best friend Hazel who narrates the story. I really enjoyed this because you were aware of details about the characters which you might not hear if the main character was telling the story. This is interesting because you get Hazel’s thoughts and feelings about the main events and you hear some things that Daisy might not appreciate being said.
The only thing that I disliked about the book was that it was slow at the beginning. Overall, it was an excellent book. I would definitely read a book by this author again. I would recommend these books to people that are older than nine because the murder isn’t gory but there is some romance. People that like mysteries and a bit of adventure would enjoy this book. I would rate Arsenic for Tea 4 stars out of 5 because I would have liked there to be a bit more action in it. However, the tension was held throughout the book. The author did this by keeping the most important clues until last, even then they made they mystery difficult to solve.