The Head is Dead (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman

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The Head is Dead (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman

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Buy The Head is Dead (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A further thriller for the young murder magnets, set around a school fete.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 112 Date: November 2009
Publisher: Walker Books
ISBN: 978-1406314632

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Meet, once again, Poppy Fields. When tasked to create a murder mystery experience for a school fete she is only surprised to find the headmistress - a newly employed battleaxe that no-one seems to like - a real-life victim of an assassin. And there is only a school field full of suspects. Can she and her best friend, brainbox George, solve the day and make the staff room a safer place to be? And where does the invisible sheepdog come in?!

If this were real life I would think the police could do a lot worse than just spy on Poppy and George, for once again she has the greatest knack for falling into murder investigations. It's a slight pity that the pattern of proceedings has a similarity with Dying to be Famous - first (expected) death, some problem forming, a second (unexpected) death, some problem solving, then peril for our young heroes.

And I have to sit proud and say I knew the culprit from the start, and could follow the clues - once again of the so so clever, but obvious once you know the truth variety - given me. If you're not so fortunate you still have a tight, well-crafted thriller, whatever your age. Once again the taut story-telling, with its driving predictive stings, as opposed to sheer cliffhangers, and tightly-realised world, allows for a very good mystery for the target audience.

I'm only knocking slight bits off points here due to school fiction stereotypes, the fact this was guessable at least by me, and the routine I saw forming. Perhaps I had a heightened esteem for the previous volume as it covered the world of professional theatre so well. Perhaps these actually are a little too disposable to really hit the highest Bookbag ratings - if you know and remember the culprit, can we expect you to want to reread these volumes?

Actually, you probably could. They are engagingly written, with protagonists that are smart but not clever-clever, a fresh look at a world the audience will not expect to enjoy so much in their fiction, and an approach to murder books for the under-twelves us unsuspecting adults would not have thought likely.

So this isn't quite the most enjoyable entry in this series, but I can see Tanya Landman's fans caught spellbound for the short time reading this bright adventure, and again I can recommend it.

I must thank the publishers for sending me a review copy.

Some less mysterious larks in a school can be found in The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman and David Roberts.

Buy The Head is Dead (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Head is Dead (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Head is Dead (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Head is Dead (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman at Amazon.com.

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