Iris Anderson finally has an understanding with her father’s detective agency, she can help with his business if she’s honest with him and follows the rules. All that goes out the window when while she’s trying to clear her best friend’s name in a case of anti-Semitic vandalism, she discovers evidence that her mother’s reported suicide was anything but. Now Iris is breaking the rules, in over her head, and in way more trouble than she realizes.
I loved Iris in The Girl is Murder (reviewed here) and she doesn’t disappoint in her second adventure. Haines has created a believable teen heroine. Yes she’s more introspective and driven and moral and seemingly heroic than most teens, but this is dealt with believably because of all the tragedies that have shaped her. I also love that she gets called “Nancy Drew” as an insult in this book! It totally fits, because she is no super sleuth and bungles quite a lot. Personally, I think we have enough hyper-competent detective savants and I enjoy the more grounded approach of solving crimes through dogged determination. Another high point is the absolutely splendid job Haines did in capturing the mood of the era. The look at the ugly side of what many look at as a Golden Age in America was really effective. Also, Haines does an even better job fleshing out supporting characters. Pearl, Iris’s best friend, is great and really shines throughout the book. The best part is definitely the mystery of what happened to Iris’s mom. It makes this story much more personal and raises the stakes way higher than in the first novel. I was surprised that Haines dealt with this key aspect of Iris’s character so quickly instead of dragging it out over several volumes. I hope that doesn’t mean we won’t have any more volumes!!! Well, this is a great murder mystery, historical fiction, and book! Check it out, but DEFINITELY check out Girl is Murder first!
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