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Arsenic and Tea by Robin Stevens - Reread

Friday, September 27, 2019

I read this book back in 2015, and although it's the second in the Detective Society series, I actually read it third. When I was reading Top Marks for Murder recently, there's a lot of mention of what happened in Arsenic and Tea, and I found it was all a bit muddy in my mind, so I decided to reread it.

The book takes place at Daisy's family home, Fallingford, over Easter, and over Daisy's birthday. Hazel and Daisy are there with their schoolmates, Beanie and Kitty. Daisy's brother Bertie is there with his friend Stephen, and their old aunt Saskia is there. There are several domestic staff, and Daisy's parents. And Mr Curtis. It becomes clear that Lady Hastings has been having a dalliance with Mr Curtis, and that he is a very suspicious character. Daisy is outraged, but trying to keep herself in check, and Hazel is just bewildered by the weird behaviour of the English upper classes. Then Mr Curtis dies, and the girls must try to discover what happened to him before the police arrive.

It's interesting, reading this back. I had forgotten exactly what happened, and that Lady Hastings' affair was common knowledge. In Top Marks for Murder she's had to kind of retire from public life, and I couldn't remember why. Nothing really seems too scandalous to me, but I understand that for the time period, it probably was. I also understand why the girls are outraged - they are fourteen after all.

I do feel like I can see that the series has matured a lot between the second book and the most recent one. It's happened so gradually so as to not really be noticeable, but I'm glad it has matured, and I think it's been done well. I loved the reintroduction to Daisy's family and family home, and I hope we get to go back there before the series ends.

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