Happy 2016! I’ve just found out that my year is off to a great start – Poison is Not Polite, the US edition of Arsenic for Tea, has been given its first review, and it’s a star from Booklist!
‘After getting off to a good start in Murder is Bad Manners, Stevens perfects her take on the British murder mystery in the second book in the Wells & Wong series. Daisy Wells has brought boarding-school friend (and co-member of the Detective’s Society) Hazel Wong to Fallingford, her family’s estate, complete with mazes, libraries, lords, and ladies. It’s Daisy’s birthday and a lavish tea is planned with visits from two other school chums. But there are other visitors, including the nefarious Mr. Curtis, who seems as enamored of the family antiques as he is of Daisy’s mother. From the first pages, we learn something dreadful happens to Mr. Curtis, and as the book progresses, readers will be enthralled with the what, why, and how—all issues that the Detective’s Society unravel through cleverness and sleuthing skill. Not so long ago, detailed accounts of murders in middle-grade mysteries was rarely done. Here, though, Mr. Curtis lies moldering in a guest room after a violent poisoning, while the game is afoot all over the house, which has been cut off by a flood. Though Stevens handles the mystery element to perfection (the house diagrams are a nice touch, too), what really shines is the depiction of her characters, especially bossy, egocentric Daisy, and loyal, smart Hazel, always aware that she is “other.” A smashing good time.’ – Ilene Cooper, Booklist