The Bookbag review of Arsenic for Tea

February 3, 2015


‘There’s a clever mystery here, with lots of suspects and a denouement that will take many readers by surprise. Clues abound, although they can be deceiving, and lots of twists and turns in the plot keep the story moving along at a spanking pace . . .

What really makes this book stand out is the picture of life in the 1930s it presents. Hazel, Vice-President and Secretary of the Detective Society and our narrator, is from Hong Kong and frequently has to put up with thoughtless racism from adults. She finds some aspects of life in an English country house quite incomprehensible, but she is an observant girl and does her best to record events as they occur. Despite her obvious gratitude at being befriended by a proper English girl she is not blind to Daisy’s faults: her friend is headstrong and passionate, inclined to twist the evidence to fit her theories and overwhelmingly protective of her family.

Daisy’s desperately-felt anger and hurt as adults let her down and she learns uncomfortable truths about people she loves are vividly portrayed, and even Hazel soon finds she is less of an outsider in this family drama than she expected to be. It is a lively and thrilling tale, full of fascinating details, and the good news is that the third volume in the series is well on its way to publication.’ (4.5 stars)

Linda Lawlor, The Bookbag, on Arsenic for Tea

More posts to explore

I’m very pleased to say that my Behind the Book video, featuring a Q&A, a workspace tour and a reading from the last two chapters of Death Sets Sail, is available to watch NOW on the Puffin YouTube channel. There’s a link below – I hope you enjoy it!
I’ve got a new video on the way! Behind the Book with Robin Stevens will premiere on the Puffin YouTube Channel on Friday 18th September at 6pm BST.
For the rest of September, your prompt will be resolutions. This was suggested by Detective Society member Neve – and it seems like a great choice, since this is the beginning of the school year, a time full of new challenges and big decisions.
I’ve got good news for Scottish fans – I may not be able to come visit you in person this autumn, but I’ll be able to be with you virtually! I’m teaming up with the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour and Book Week Scotland for a week of absolutely FREE events for Scottish schools.
You have until the 6th of September to send all of your questions about the MMU series, The Ministry of Unladylike Activity, Howl the puppy or anything else you might want to know to a special email address that my publisher Puffin has set up: I’m going to be answering my very favourites on a new ‘Behind the Book’ video, premiering on the 18th of September on the Puffin YouTube channel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you for commenting! If you’re a new user, or using a new username, it may take a little while for your comment to appear as I have to approve it. Please be patient. But as soon as I do, you’ll be able to see it on the site!