The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox
|The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox|
|Reviewer: Gina Garnett|
|Summary: Not quite Agatha Christie, but certainly harmless enough. Characters are realistic and likable and you find yourself wanting happy endings for them even if you can’t relate to them.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 327||Date: October 2012|
|Publisher: Much in Little|
In the spirit of fairness, I’m going to start by saying this: at the doddering age of twenty five, I am ten years too old for this book. I have crested the metaphorical hill and regrettably now view the lands of adolescence from a height, trying to remember what it was like to agonise over school and boys and wondering when I got a mortgage and reading glasses. This book was never really intended for me, so on the occasions where I felt myself rolling my eyes at the main character I choose to believe that these are shining examples of realism. After all, I certainly cringe at enough of my own teenage memories.
The Dead Girls Detective Agency takes us with Charlotte Feldman, an average school girl who is pushed under a train and wakes up to find that the afterlife for murdered teenagers is a downtown hotel from where they must solve their cases and get the killer to confess in order to move on. I’d call it a fresh and original take on the whodunit if I hadn't seen variants of it before. However, it does have individuality. The sole condition for moving on is solving the murder – there’s no pansying around finding absolution or atoning for transgressions.
Cox has fun with the abilities the dead have (apparently to help them solve their case) but is also free with the restrictions placed upon them, which keeps everything balanced. She’s imposed this balance on the rest of the book as well. Charlotte, for example, has an unprecedented skill with the ability to make herself visible to the living but has trouble getting the hang of teleporting. Her two new dead friends are one rule abiding, list making geek (Nancy) and one sweet though dippy Prada obsessed rich girl (Lorna). Having said that, I liked both of these characters and I was impressed by the reasons they gave for not hunting down confessions in order to move on.
The boys, however, are too drastically polar opposites. On the one hand we have Charlotte’s bereaved boyfriend David – a surfer looking hipster who wastes little time moving on, despite professing his love for her in his eulogy. And on the other we have Edison – long-time dead, pseudo goth whose murder ended a troubled life and who delights in teasing Charlotte. These two actually have a kind of Addam’s Family vibe about them in that the darker of the two is obviously made out to be the real good guy and the more socially normal one is obviously horrible.
The end of the book is clearly leaving a space for the next installment and I found myself slightly glad, not because I can’t wait to get my hands on part two, but because there was a lot left unresolved for Charlotte. I really hope that Cox intends to tie those ends up because this one was a great part one, but I really would have been disappointed if it were a standalone. Give it a read, but your money would be better spent buying it for your niece, daughter, cousin or (as Charlotte would say) whatever.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox at Amazon.com.
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