Nancy Drew would fit right in with Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells, the heroines of Robin Stevens’ Murder is Bad Manners. Hazel finds Miss Bell dead on the gym floor. By the time she gets back with help, the body has disappeared. Students are told that Miss Bell has simply resigned, and the police aren’t called, so Hazel and her friend Daisy decide they will have to find the killer. Before long, another teacher has had an unfortunate “accident.” With a bewildering mixture of faculty romances and battles for power bubbling up, the murderer could be anyone on the school’s staff.
English boarding schools offer up all kinds of opportunities for kids who snoop, whether they’re Harry Potter or kid detectives like Hazel and Daisy. Hazel and Daisy are clever enough to start rumors that won’t point back at them, can work around their head girl’s intense monitoring, and even finagle a way into the infirmary so they can sneak into staff offices at night. Locked doors don’t stop them, and neither do bossy adults.
Daisy is president of their detective society, but it’s really Hazel’s story, and not only because she’s the secretary writing it up. Looking for other fun middle grade mysteries?
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, Julie Berry
The Great Cake Mystery: A Precious Ramotswe mystery, Alexander McCall Smith
The Spycatchers of Maple Hill, Megan Frazer Blakemore
The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes mystery, Nancy Springer
Although it’s not technically middle grade, the Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley are also an excellent way to spend an afternoon or two. Flavia is a young scientist and detective, and As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust is actually set in a girls’ school in Canada, although you’ll want to start at the beginning of the series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.