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The Girl Is Murder [Paperback]

Kathryn Miller Haines

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Product details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (22 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250006392
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250006394
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 13.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,587,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For fans of the Rosie Winters series, Iris Anderson is worthy successor 15 Sep 2011
By D. White - Published on
I'm an enormous fan of Haines' Rose Winters mysteries and was broken-hearted when the series was discontinued. I had never read a YA mystery before and was thrilled that Haines snappy dialogue and penchant for historical accuracy came through intact. As a historical mystery writer, Haines is especially good at immersing the reader in a specific time and place in a way that's poignant and enthusiastic without ever falling into the trap of nostalgia or sentimentality. THE GIRL IS MURDER is no exception. The New York of Iris Anderson is substantially different from the haunts inhabited by Rosie Winters, but both are complimentary and fully realized. Iris is a neat character. She's not overly precocious but she isn't a frustrating teenager either. She thinks about boys (a lot) but never descends to the level of a helpless swoon. She's not a superhuman, Holmesian detective or an idealized Nancy Drew. Iris is just a really smart girl who grieves, laughs, worries about fitting in and somewhere along the way discovers that she has a thirst for justice and a strong sense of morality. She's a fantastic role model for young readers but she's an ideal protagonist for adult readers as well. You won't be disappointed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but no big Ah-ha! 19 July 2012
By mudwoman - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Well written, engaging characters, and obviously well-researched for the time period that serves as the setting of this story. The protagonist is likable. You are rooting for her, cringing for her, and hoping she'll pull it off. But what's the "it"? The narrative, and even the title, hints at several mysteries, and I was waiting to see which one of them would be the actual climax of the book. Would it turn out that our heroine is investigating this mystery over here, but unbeknownst to her she is actually on the path of another? Will she be as surprised as the reader, once the real mystery is revealed? Alas, while one mystery is solved, the teasers are left dangling, and not in a "Tune in next week" kind of way. They are dismissed as if they don't matter. The book is not really about what the title and set up suggest it is about, and that is disappointing.

What the book IS about is a girl finding her way through a challenging life change, in circumstances foreign to most of us (a country hunkering down and sacrificing, rationing, changing "normal," to support a war), while coming to grips with her rearranged family and her distant father. As a somewhat tame teenage adventure, and a taste of what life was like in WWII America, it is a worthwhile read.
But the reader might well miss it if they are looking for a mystery.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of The Figment Review at Figment[dot]com 29 July 2011
By The Figment Review - Published on
Iris is the daughter of a private detective living in the Lower East Side of New York City in 1942, and she's not who you'd expect her to be.

You see, Iris used to live in the Upper East Side and attend a private school and associate with "all the right people." That was until her mother committed suicide, and her father, who is essentially broke, moved the family.

As the book begins, Iris attends public school for the first time. The first day, she meets Tom. Tom is the kind of kid who could be really studious and handsome, but chooses not to be. He's one of the only people in Iris' new school to whom she feels connected.

A while later, Tom goes missing. One day, Iris comes home to her father talking to Tom's parents about the case. Iris, of course, wants in, but no matter how many hints she gives, her father is adamant about keeping the facts of the case from Iris.

Soon enough, she's drinking, sneaking out of the house behind her father's back, and disobeying what seems to me to be every rule she has...

Kathryn Miller Haines employs a writing style that I quite like. She does an especially great job writing the mystery. I love the twists and turns she adds to The Girl is Murder. Although some plot elements are very small, they add a lot to the story. In this sense, the story is similar to some of Agatha Christie's tales, but not as complicated.

I'm also impressed by Haines' ability to produce emotions in her readers similar to those Iris feels throughout the story. For example, there were times that I was as annoyed by Iris's Pop as Iris was because he seemed to be `holding back' the story by not asking Iris for her help.

Though, as with any story, I have complaints. Mainly, they are about Iris. Although her actions are necessary for the story, I was quite annoyed by her at some points. She continuously lies to her father after she's gained his trust back, even after being yelled at and even grounded multiple times. By the end of the book, I was pretty much like "Oh my God, you idiot, again?"

A mystery should be addictive; you should feel like you must read the next chapter and it should be difficult to physically put the book down to allow yourself to go on with normal human life. The Girl is Murder is missing that addictive element. You read to know the ending, not what happens in the next chapter.

But the end of the book is unexpected, making The Girl is Murder a worthwhile, albeit not outstanding, summer read for mystery fans.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! 17 July 2012
By JennRenee - Published on
I was so excited when I came across this book. I love Historical Fiction and I love Mystery. The cover is eye catching, the title is interesting, and the synopsis pulled it all together to sound like a good read and it was a very good read.

The story is about a 15 year girl who just lost her mother, her father is home injured from the war, and her life was drastically changed. Iris is lost in her new world. She is having a very hard time finding her place this new world she now lives in, which contains public school, no money, and a father who she hardly knows. She quickly finds herself mixed up in a missing person's report, attempting to help her father but only lands herself a in big mess. Before she knows it the only thing she is able to do is tell lies, and that's not going so well either. It's full of laughs, mystery, and growing up.

I really liked Iris. She came across clueless at times, but she is only 15 and has lived a very sheltered life up to this point. I enjoyed reading her adventure and all the trouble she ran into. She wants to make friends, get close to her father, and help people, but her intriguing mind seems to always land her in trouble. She tells her lies with the best intention and finds that getting into a mess is a lot easier than getting out of one. I was really drawn to her and felt a strong connection to her. I was rooting for her even when she was clearly screwing up.

I found all the characters likeable, Suze in particular really warmed my heart. She was the girl that pegged as trouble, but deep down she has a big heart and horrible home life. She was doing the best she could for herself and her friends. Loyalty and friendship really went a long way with her.

Something else I really found entertaining was the lingo that was used. I really felt I was in a different era. I loved hearing all the phrases and words used during time this book took place. I found myself giggling often the words, thoughts, and actions of the girls of this generation. It was a fun time traveling adventure for me.

I read a lot of mysteries, and can usually figure something out. This book had me going. I was clueless until the end and didn't know who to trust or what the truth was. If you like mystery, this is a very clean, old fashioned, keep you guessing kind of mystery. I would definitely recommend it and I am so excited the next one is on its way!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for all ages 13 July 2012
By Mary - Published on
One of the marks of a good book, to me, is that it grabs my attention and makes me focus on it - often to the point of keeping me up past my bedtime. It's been a long time since a book did that, but THE GIRL IS MURDER certainly did.

Set in 1941, the book follows Iris Anderson. She's fallen on hard times - mother dead, father crippled after Pearl Harbor, made to leave her all-girls private school and attend public school. She must learn to navigate a new social structure and mend her relationship with her father. Oh and there's the little fact that one of her classmates is missing.

The book is tightly plotted and moves quickly with a tone appropriate for a young adult audience. The 1940s slang takes a minute to understand, but if you're familiar with the history, you'll manage (and even if you aren't, you'll figure it out). Iris is a sympathetic, believable character - a 15-year old girl searching for her place in the world, in school, and with her father. The characters are drawn well, all of them very vibrant, 3D people, not flat caricatures (which would be easy given the war-time setting). And the ending is not what you think - which is good in a mystery story.

Adults should not be put off by the "young adult" label - this is a story for anyone who enjoys a good "whodunit." I'm eagerly looking forward to the next book and the continuation of Iris's adventures.

UPDATE: For those of you who were annoyed with Iris's behavior (lying, etc.), you need to read the second book. It's really two halves of one story.
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