One case closed and two unlikely partners-in-crime… Holly Jackson’s debut novel A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is a perfect novel for mystery readers who love detective or suspense stories. It was recommended to me a long time ago and I’ve regretted every single day since finishing it that I hadn’t picked it up sooner.

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A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder Overview

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder UK book cover

Everyone in Little Kilton knows that Sal Singh murdered his beautiful and popular girlfriend Andie Bell, and then killed himself five years ago. Pippa Fitz-Amobi believes otherwise. Throughout the course of the novel narrative, she tries to uncover the truth behind the alleged murder/suicide as a case study for her final-year project. Will she be able to connect loose ends and decipher the mysterious incidents to prove Sal’s innocence?

In-depth Analysis Of The Mystery

It’s immediately clear that there was something off about how authorities handled the case of Andie Bell. For one thing, her body was never found so no autopsy could be performed. For another, police simply accepted Sal’s confession via a text message he sent to his Dad before he killed himself, no questions asked. Open and shut as they say…or was it?

Despite there being evidence pointing Sal as the killer, the timelines just don’t add up. Given the difficulty of retrieving valuable information, the sequence of events would have needed to have been retraced one step at a time.

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Reopening closed cases like this can be understandably difficult for families and friends affected by it. I was hooked right away by how well Jackson addressed the characters reactions to a new investigation. The emotional distress was plain as day.

The answers Pip finds often lead to new questions. Because of this, the story often leads the reader towards different suspects at different times, making it a fast paced whodunit for the reader. Nevertheless, the novel challenges the reader to really think about consequences to every action, and allows us to do some theorizing along the way.

Pip, The Detective

And yet, history’s greatest minds always advised bold over safe.

No one takes a homework as seriously as Pip. Told in a series of production log entries and transcripts of interviews, I was amazed by how dedicated this teenage girl is. Her investigative journals are meticulously written. She writes humble emails and intricate analyses to solve the mystery, showcasing a unique, dedicated, and single minded protagonist.

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The young detective thankfully isn’t alone in her investigation. After interviewing Sal’s younger brother Ravi Singh, he unexpectedly becomes her partner-in-crime. Their well suited partners, complementing one another’s personalities. Now keep in mind I said partners-in-crime for a reason. It was unbelievable at first that Pip would be so dedicated as to resort to trespassing and even stalking just to find evidence.

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Unfortunately there were times I found myself doubting how impulsive and reactive the characters could be when they were being interviewed by Pip about the case. It felt a little over the top for my taste. Pip’s can do attitude works for for and against her. On the one hand, her single minded dedication is commendable but on the other hand it creates a dangerous situation for herself and her loved ones.

In the end, this was a story about people and their different shades of desperation, crashing up against each other.

Case Closed?

Unlike some mystery novels, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder finishes with a clean and clear resolution. I’m very satisfied with the conclusion, which was a pleasure to read. That being said, it left a lot of potential conflicts for a sequel and guess what? This novel is only the first book in a trilogy! The sequel, Good Girl, Bad Blood, was equally loved by readers. I’m stoked to find out that its third and last installment, As Good as Dead, was released last month (August 5, 2021). I can’t wait to read the rest.

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Final Thoughts

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is a suspenseful YA mystery that will keep you guessing until its very end. Anyone who loves a charming whodunit mystery will love it. Word to the wise, try not to pick it up at midnight. I swear, it’ll never let you sleep until you know the truth.


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8.5
Score

Pros

  • Intellectual characters
  • Page-turner
  • Well-written investigative reports
  • Natural flow of events

Cons

  • Too many characters
  • Impulsive honesty of characters
Mystery and Suspense
10
Characters
7
Setting
9
Pacing
8
Evidences
8

Final Verdict

The plot of A Good Girl's Guide to Murder sounds like a basic whodunit mystery story but it was written meticulously good. Evidences were laid out so readers can tag alongside Pip while she resolves a case.