Review: Once Upon A Crime – Robin Stevens

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Trigger Warnings: Murder; Racism

Once Upon A Crime is the final installment in Robin Stevens’ Murder Most Unladylike series. It contains short stories from various points in the series’ timeline, and I really enjoyed reading about The Detective Society’s, The Junior Pinkertons’ and May Wong’s new adventures.

Two of the short stories in Once Upon A Crime (The Case of The Missing Treasure and The Case of the Drowned Pearl) had already been released in the UK prior to Once Upon A Crime. I reviewed both of these books last year. The other four short stories (The Case of the Uninvited Guest, The Hound of Weston School, The Case of the Second Scream, and May Wong and the Deadly Flat) were completely new!

I always have, and I always will, love the Murder Most Unladylike world. Everything always fits so seamlessly into the timeline within, and between, novels. There is not a single gap inbetween stories that I wish was more detailled. As readers, we always have an insight to what happened inbetween each case, which really helps the series to flow, and for us to always be able to return to this series, regardless of when we last read it.

The Case of the Uninvited Guest

For some reason, I had always assumed that Uncle Felix and Aunt Lucy’s wedding had been a typical wedding, with no drama or mysteries at all . . . I could not have been more wrong! The way that the mystery was detected in such a short space of time really added to the suspense of this mystery, especially as the Detective Society worked out exactly what was happening not in the casebook, but in their heads! When they presented their findings, I was really shocked, as it was one of those mysteries that you wonder why you didn’t notice certain details before!

The Case of the Missing Treasure

“The mystery was prominent all the way through, and the detectives’ actions built up lots of tension in the mystery.”

Read my review of The Case of the Missing Treasure here.

The Case of the Drowned Pearl

“When the Detective Society were about to solve the case and no one seemed likely, I did think ‘at this rate, it might as well be {insert name of the murderer here}!”

Read my review of The Case of the Drowned Pearl here.

The Hound of Weston School

The first thing that stood out to me during The Hound of Weston School was the obvious friendship and relationship between Hazel and Alexander. Knowing that this story was written just before the events of Death Sets Sail (and knowing what happens in this book too) really increased my excitement, as I was getting increasingly excited about the end result! I really enjoyed reading from Alexander and George’s perspectives, as this has been a rarity throughout the series. It was really interesting seeing how they detect, as detection methods had been a source of disagreement throughout The Case of the Missing Treasure and The Case of the Drowned Pearl. I loved it how this story’s roots were in The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as this was reminiscent of both First Class Murder and Death Sets Sail. However, what I would say is the most powerful part of this story is how Robin Stevens has tackled racism throughout it. This really was a very clever addition on her part, especially as this is a children’s book. I believe that it is really important to open up discussions and to tackle modern-day issues in children’s books.

The Case of the Second Scream

The Case of the Second Scream was very reminiscent of Death Sets Sail, which linked very well with its postitions in the Murder Most Unladylike timeline. I loved returning to Daisy and Hazel’s stories, especially as it jumped back in time to just after A Spoonful of Murder. I was very shocked by the ending, and I would love to see how it pans out for Daisy and Hazel – is this going to be integrated into The Ministry of Unladylike Activity?

May Wong and the Deadly Flat

I loved the glimpse that this story gave into The Ministry of Unladylike Activity. It certainly looks to be a very interesting series! May Wong having the spotlight is something that I really enjoyed reading about, as she had been a minor character when she had previously appeared in the series. Considering that this was the first mystery that she solved on her own, I was really surprised with how quickly she came to her conclusion of who the murderer was! However, I was a bit surprised that Daisy and Hazel accepted the first explanation that they were given – but maybe this is because of something that has happened between stories that we will find out about in The Ministry of Unladylike Activity!

Once Upon A Crime has made me even more excited for The Ministry of Unladylike Activity next year (if that was possible!). I recommend Once Upon A Crime, and the Murder Most Unladylike series, to any mystery fans aged 9+.

Have you read Once Upon A Crime, or any books in the Murder Most Unladylike series? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading this post.


11 thoughts on “Review: Once Upon A Crime – Robin Stevens

  1. I haven’t heard of the Murder Most Unladylike series but definitely sounds like one to get into, especially as I love reading this genre in autumn. Thanks for sharing your review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear that! The good thing about reading this series in Autumn is that you’ll be reading Mistletoe and Murder at a Christmassy time of year, which really adds to the atmosphere! No problem, I’m happy that you enjoyed it!

      Liked by 1 person

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