Guardian interview: Death Sets Sail and The Ministry of Unladylike Activity!

August 1, 2020

I’m absolutely honoured and thrilled to be the subject of a long interview in the Guardian today! Justine Jordan spoke to me last month about ending the Murder Most Unladylike series, looking forward to The Ministry of Unladylike Activity and why I think writing for children is so important – you can read the whole article online here!

This is such a rare and special thing for a children’s author to get this kind of coverage, and I’m so pleased to see it. It’s been wonderful to read all of your positive responses to the news about The Ministry of Unladylike Activity, too – it’s making me so glad to be returning to this world!

By the way, I’m seeing that a few of you have had your pre-orders arrive early. If you have read Death Sets Sail, please don’t post about it here. I’m going to be putting up a spoiler post early next week, where you can tell me what you thought of the book – but until then, keep your lips sealed!

More posts to explore

Exciting news, Detectives: the numbers are in, and Death Sets Sail is floating at the very top of the charts! It’s the NUMBER ONE paperback in the UK, it’s NUMBER FOUR overall in the UK children’s and YA chart (in the week that we got a new Stephenie Meyer and a new Jeff Kinney) and it’s NUMBER TWELVE of all books sold in the UK. That’s ALL books, not just kids!
Death Sets Sail is out now – and my publisher Puffin thought you might want to celebrate that fact! They’ve put together a (socially distanced) party pack to help you and your friends wave goodbye to the series in style.
‘the story unfolds neatly and is satisfyingly twisty. It has a strong sense of place … and two budding romances, and explores the powerful bonds of friendship as girls grow up.’
At the end of a series, you want a big finish. Something to make the series go out with a bang. Well, Robin Stevens did just that with Death Sets Sail. Packed with suspense throughout, and unimaginable twists and turns, Death Sets Sail was without a doubt the best book in the Murder Most Unladylike series.
I have another event coming up next week – a live Q&A and reading in partnership with the Arvon Foundation’s Arvon at Home programme on Tuesday 11th August at 4pm. You can book tickets NOW – they’re £3 per screen – and I hope as many of you as possible will log on!
Because it’s publication day, I’m sharing a video of me reading from the first chapter of Death Sets Sail. But beware … the first chapter contains the first SPOILER! So watch … if you dare!

44 Responses

  1. Hello Robin,
    Congratulations on the interview- it’s a great achievement! I read it online yesterday but will be getting a paper copy of the interview too. I really enjoyed learning more about Death Sets Sail and The Ministry of Unladylike Activity- I’m really excited! I agree with what you said about children’s books shaping our lives- I’ve grown up with Daisy and Hazel as they’ve grown too. MMU has inspired me to write my own stories and I now hope to be an author when I’m older. MMU has also lead me to other books, in particular Agatha Christie and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.

    Also, thank you for mentioning the spoiler post. I’m away so won’t be getting Death Sets Sail until a few days after publication so I don’t want to read any spoilers. That’s the magical thing about books- you’re transported on a journey and feel like your living the adventure with the characters. Finally, I’m really happy that I’m able to participate in your Edinburgh Book Festival event with Sharna Jackson- I’m sure it will be great!

    1. im going to the waterstones one 😀
      and yeah i dont want ANY spoilers THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
      also i’ve heard of a good girls guide to murder and it sounds GREAT like-

      1. Hello Evez,
        Yay, glad you’re able to go to the Waterstones online event! I can’t go unfortunately. Yes, I don’t want spoilers either as I think it could ruin the book/plot and I want to experience the story as it is. Yes, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is one of my favourite books ever (of course MMU is one of my favourites too!). I’d say the age range is a bit older than MMU, maybe 14+? Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

    2. I also read A Good Girls Guide to Murder because of MMU it was so good, have you read the sequel?
      Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson is a good read if you enjoyed AGGGTM and MMU as it’s set in a boarding school.

      1. Hello Iona,
        Yes, I’ve also read Good Girl Bad Blood too! I love them both- I never suspected the solution at all! Thank you for that recommendation, I’ll check it out! If you liked MMU and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, I’d recommend Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M McManus.

          1. Truly Devious is definitely more about the plot than the characters, so it’s slightly different to MMU and AGGGTM but it’s still good 🙂

      2. Truly Devious is amazing but ya it did feel a little bit creepy at parts. It has a lot of plot twists bough so it’s a great murder mystery.

  2. Wow Robin, you really deserved being on the Guardian. I am happy sooooooooooooo for you ??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All so I can not wait for the new murder most unladylike series, it gonna be AMAZING!!!!!!!

  3. This is amazing and such a great honor, huge congratulations, I loved the article so much and I can’t wait for both death sets sail and the ministry of unladylike activity!
    Detective society forever!

    1. Yep, defo the Detective Society for ever, as there is a new Detective Society book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [ The ministry of unladylike activity.]

  4. hey robin!
    I’ve read your interview and your soo smart, (or wise. same thing tho right?) and i’m so sad i’ll have to see daisy and hazel go, but i’m also SOOO excited for ministry of unladylike activity (imma just call it MOUA) and for those people who are getting they’re pre-orders early i just gotta say l u c k y. oh and MY SHIP IS CONFIRMED YES YES YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS 😀
    anyway thanks for coming to my ted talk LMAO.

  5. I read the article yesterday!! Congratulations Robin!! I can’t wait to read death sts sail and I will hopefully be going to the waterstones event even though where I live its at six am im still gonna try and go! I’m upset about the series ending but it had to come to end eventually. I have all the mmu books and my older sister gave her copiesto me besides her signed copy of jolly foul play. I cant wait to add Death Sets Sail to the rest of the books!!

  6. Well done on the article ? I can’t wait to read Death Sets Sail! And I’m looking forward to The Ministry of Unladylike Activity because it’ll be about May and she seems quite different to Hazel?!

  7. Hello Robin,
    I discovered MMU at the beginning of this year and love your books! They’re exciting, gripping and suspenseful and I love all the twists. I am reading the series in order so won’t read Death Sets Sail yet but I am very excited to! I have just finished Jolly Foul Play and I thought it was brilliant! (Btw, I read other books in between, so I haven’t just read 4 books in 7 months!?)

    I’m so glad that you are continuing writing Murder Mysteries, I am definitely going to read The Ministry Of Unladylike Activity as soon as it comes out!

    Well done on your interview – that’s amazing news! ?

    1. Hello Miriam,
      Jolly Foul Play is a great book and I love how it is themed around Guy Fawkes night. What is your favourite MMU book that you have read so far? Mine is First Class Murder!

      1. Hello Colette,
        It’s great to talk again bestie!! ??
        I know right! It’s so good! Well I love all her books but I do love the first one…


      1. Hello Robin,
        Oh my gosh, thanks so much for replying!!!! No worries!!! 😀


  8. Congrats on the interview! I’m the sort of person who gets emotional when a favourite character dies so I will be in tears ?!

    1. Seriously
      (Spoiler alert Harry Potter and the Deathly hallows and the half blood prince)

      I cried at Dobby and Dumbledore dying.

      1. I cried for a whole week when Dobby and Fred died and A whole day when Sirius, Cedric, Tonks, Lupin and Hedwig died!!!
        I also was SOO sad when Dumbledore died!!!!

      2. that was SOOOOO SAD, bu i think i’ll actually cry if one of the characters die cuz daisy is my emotional support charecter u.u

  9. Congratulations on the article Robin! It is wonderful to see that you are getting well deserved coverage; hopefully this will encourage more readers to join the Murder Most Unladylike world.

  10. Congratulations Robin,

    This is such great news, a truly big well done and virtual. It is great that a truly great author like you is getting publicity like this. Well done!

  11. Hi Robin! I just saw the article and I’m so excited for DSS! May and the ministry of unladylike activity (MOUA) is going to be awesome! P.S What’s your email address?

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