cover image The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

Julie Berry. Roaring Brook, $15.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-59643-956-6

Readers with a penchant for dark humor will relish Berry’s (All the Truth That’s in Me) tongue-in-cheek murder mystery set in a late-19th-century British girls’ boarding school. The St. Etheldreda’s School for Young Ladies, run by stern headmistress Constance Plackett, may not be paradise for its residents, but the students get an unanticipated break from their dull routines when Plackett and her odious brother drop dead at the dinner table one spring evening, apparently poisoned. Knowing opportunity when they see it, the girls hatch a scheme to dispose of the bodies and run the school on their own. Unfortunately, a killer is on the loose, and the girls could be the next victims. The pupils’ attempts to convince the public that everything is normal at the school make for some hilarious scenes, and their efforts to find the murderer result in surprising encounters with suspicious (but often quite appealing) suspects. Romance blooms in unexpected places, and danger lurks around every corner in this delightfully farcical tale, full of twists and turns. Ages 10–14. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Sept.)