Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery Book 1: Premeditated Myrtle

premeditated myrtle

Introducing Myrtle Hardcastle, your favorite new amateur detective: a wickedly smart twelve-year-old with a keen interest in criminology and a nose for murder.

Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science. Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies toxicology, keeps abreast of the latest developments in crime scene analysis, and Observes her neighbors in the quiet village of Swinburne, England.

When her next-door neighbor, a wealthy spinster and eccentric breeder of rare flowers, dies under Mysterious Circumstances, Myrtle seizes her chance. With her unflappable governess, Miss Ada Judson, by her side, Myrtle takes it upon herself to prove Miss Wodehouse was murdered and find the killer, even if nobody else believes her — not even her father, the town prosecutor.

With sparkling wit and a tight, twisty plot, Premeditated Myrtle, the first in a series from an award-winning author, introduces a brilliant young investigator ready to take on hard cases and maddening Victorian rules for Young Ladies of Quality in order to earn her place among the most daring and acclaimed amateur detectives of her time or any other.---from the publisher 368 pages                                978-1616209186                       Ages 10-14

Keywords:  detective, mystery, girl power, murder, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, 14 year old

About the Author Elizabeth C. Bunce grew up on a steady diet of Sherlock Holmes, Trixie Belden, and Quincy, M.E., and always played the lead prosecutor in mock trial. She has never had a governess, and no one has ever accused her of being irrepressible, but a teacher did once call her “argumentative”—which was entirely untrue, and she can prove it. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and their cats. Premeditated Myrtle is her first book for middle-grade readers. You can find her online at


lever and captivating, Premeditated Myrtle is the best young detective story in years! Set in Victorian England in a small town, the story satisfies with historical details and quaint setting.

Twelve-year old Myrtle Hardcastle is smart and inquisitive, armed with her mother's microscope and her father's love of the law, Myrtle is incorrigible and fearless. She loves science and forensics--certainly not conventional subjects for young ladies of her era and frowned upon by society--but Myrtle throws caution to the wind and fearlessly ventures where no young lady of breeding should ever tread. Young Ladies of Quality are not supposed to go gallivanting off OUTSIDE AFTER DARK or poke their noses into mysteries and murder, but that doesn't stop the irrepressible Myrtle! With her loving governess at her side, Myrtle sets out to solve the mystery of her elderly neighbor's death. Miss Wodehouse's death was deemed "natural causes," but Myrtle knows something is fishy.

She finds evidence that Miss Wodehouse was murdered, and her father, the town prosecutor, arrests Miss Wodehouse's grounds keeper. Myrtle suspects her father has arrested the wrong man and sets out to prove it. When Miss Wodehouse's cat goes MIA, Myrtle wonders where Peony could have gone. And why were all of the old lady's lilies burned in the garden? Who is covering up something much more sinister? A long lost niece arrives from America, but Myrtle doesn't trust her. Soon, a nephew also arrives. Suddenly, the deceased Miss Wodehouse has all sorts of relatives coming out of the Victorian carved woodwork.

Myrtle searches for clues to free Mr. Hamm and finds that Miss Wodehouse was creating a new species of rare lily. Could she have been killed for her flowers? If so, where are these magnificent flowers? Mr. Hamm burned all of them in the garden. Was he instructed to get rid of evidence or cover up something more nefarious going on?

Thank goodness for Myrtle Hardcastle who finds all the answers and pieces together means, motive and opportunity. Think Sherlock Holmes x Agatha Christie x Harriott the Spy, and you have the most fun character in kidlit in forever! Myrtle Highcastle is a hit! Readers won't have to wait for the next book in the series, How To Get Away With Myrtle (Book 2) is available on the same date.

Definitely a book that will win awards, you MUST READ Premeditated Myrtle. A MUST HAVE for all middle grade readers. A rollicking great tale full of unexpected twists, evil criminals, double dealings, a get rich quick scheme, THE will and estate, and deceptive, quick talking cons.

Highly, highly recommended! You must not miss this book.

Recommended by: Pamela Thompson, YA Blogger, Author, Librarian Florida USA

See more of her recommendations:


You really don't need my recommendation, Pamela Thompson already told everyone that this book is wonderful. But I will add my praise to hers. A Victorian era Nancy Drew is how it was described by a marketing rep, and that is a good elevator pitch for this book. Myrtle is funny, determined, intelligent, and enjoys the demise of an overly fluffy tea gown as much as I would myself - "the ragged carcass of the tea gown, hopelessly soaked, stained, burnt, blown up, hem-trodden, and reeking of lime and gunpowder." Don't you want to find out how it got that way and whether Myrtle was in it at the time?   Pub date is October 6, so be on the lookout this fall. And I sincerely hope that this is not Myrtle's only case.

Recommended by:  Suzanne Costner, Librarian, Tennessee USA

See more of her recommendations:

User reviews

Have you read this book? We'd love to hear what you think. Click the button below to write your own review!
Already have an account? or Create an account