Sleuthing from Beyond the Grave

Okay, I’ll admit it: from the moment I cracked open my very first Nancy Drew book, given to me as a Christmas present from my late, great Aunt Judy, I have been hooked on mysteries. Nancy, Poirot and Sherlock have lived quietly in my subconscious for decades, coming out to play whenever I pick up a new whodunit and joining me on an adventure that usually ends up lasting way past my bedtime.

As an adult I’ve discovered that my love for puzzling out solutions includes not only amateur detectives and cozy mysteries, but also thrillers and police procedurals. I am also diving headfirst into young adult fiction–and loving every second. Much like the present my Aunt Judy gave me back in the late 80s, I now give to you the gift of discovering a great book: The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox.

New York City teenager Charlotte is pushed in front of the F train subway and is killed. She wakes up in a hotel lobby and is told she is dead. The only way to get out of this weird limbo-like state is to solve her murder, get the murderer to confess it out loud, and only then will she get her key to “The Other Side.” With the help of the other dead teens in the Dead Girls Detective Agency she stands a chance at solving this thing and moving on…right?

This book is aimed at teens but will appeal to adults as well. Any mystery-lovers fascinated with the afterlife should read this book. There are laugh-out-loud hilarious moments and passages where I was tearing up. The author, the editor of Cosmopolitan UK, manages to write so descriptively you feel like you’re actually standing in NYC. How this Londoner manages to do that is beyond me.

If you want more proof of her good writing, take this in: she aptly describes the motivations, hormones, and attitudes of being a teenager without resorting to foul language (which we all know teens use, like I did) or sex. Warning: the ending sets itself up for a sequel and I can’t wait!

Carol