Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Author: Holly Jackson
Genre: YA Mystery
Publication Date: 2nd May 2019
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is one of a trend of young-adult mystery books making waves in the genre recently. Well, within the last year or two. From my reading perspective it seemed Karen McManus’ ‘One of Us is Lying’ paved the way to create an interest for readers unaccustomed to hyped mystery-themed novels in the young-adult genre.
With this in mind, Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder was expected to be ‘just another YA mystery’. The cute cover, the hype and positive reviews had me swayed to add this to my TBR however. I read this in Buddy Read form with Willow from Willow Writes and Reads.
The story, set in a small town, follows the character Pippa as she explores the murder and mystery behind the death of Andie Bell by her assumed murderer, Sal Singh. Pippa’s curiosity, skepticism and tenacity (sometimes to a dangerous level) gave this story the spark it needed. What could have been an unadventurous tour through this small town’s history was instead written with a light amount of suspense and a deep thread of intrigue.
Pippa’s character development, seen through a loss of naïveté, explored the concept of ‘how well do you know the people closest to you?’. It was chilling to read at times – purely because it seemed steeped in reality. How much do we know about those we love?
Pippa befriending the younger brother of Andie’s supposed killer, Ravi Singh, was an unconventional twist that I hadn’t expected in this story. This happened early on, so it isn’t really a spoiler, but the change it made to the pace and nature of Pippa’s investigation was remarkable. Instead of merely investigating the circumstances behind Andie Bell’s death, Pippa decided to try and prove Sal’s innocence. A tall order in a town convinced he’s the murderer.
Jackson took something so simple – an easily explained tragic murder from the past – and heated it up to the point where I couldn’t put this book down. As we followed Pippa’s investigation, with inclusion of interviews and commentary, I found myself completely stumped as to predicting the ending of this book. With multiple red herrings and an abundance of suspects, Jackson managed to leave me in suspense until the very end. And even then – once I thought I had it figured out – double whammy. She surprised again.
Jackson’s exploration of small-town racism and the fatal impact that can have on others’ lives – such as Sal Singh’s suicide – was a prominent theme throughout. I’m glad this topic was covered as it highlighted the negative impact actions like these can have on others through no fault of their own, such as the scathing treatment toward the Singh’s after Sal’s death.
If you’re after a book that has all of the mystery of an adult novel, without some of the danger, then you’re in the right place. I read this in paperback format but think an audiobook version would be fantastic with all of the interviews involved. I’ll be continuing with the series in Good Girl, Bad Blood soon!