05 Sep The Girl is Murder
by Kathryn Miller Haines
Fifteen-year-old Iris Anderson is dealing with a lot of life changing events. It is 1942 in New York City and her father, “Pops”, has returned from Pearl Harbor with only one leg. Her mother has committed suicide and she and Pops have moved from the Upper East Side to the Lower East Side because of their finances. Iris had to give up her private school and enroll in the public high school, with boys! She has lost touch with her old friends and has no one to talk to about her grief. Pops was in the Navy and usually gone, so Iris and her mother were very close, and he has no idea how to parent a teenage daughter. Pops has a private detective agency but he can no longer do the strenuous physical work that it requires due to his war injury. When Iris overhears a client cancelling his business unless Pops can show him that he is making progress on his case, and she realizes that Pops can’t pay the rent, she decides to take action. She snoops through his files and follows a suspect to gets pictures with her Brownie camera that will help her dad keep his client. Iris expects her dad to be pleased with her but that is not the case. Pops is less than thrilled to find out that his daughter has put herself in danger and he forbids her to continue. When one of her classmates goes missing and Pops is investigating, Iris knows that, no matter what, she must help her dad.
The Girl Is Murder has an atmospheric setting and the author draws the reader into 1942 with the war raging, food rationing, zoot suits and period slang. The ending is unexpected. This teenage noir is reminiscent of Nancy Drew but Iris, unlike Nancy, sneaks around to do her detecting. Iris is a typical teen who is a fish out of water in her new environment. She thinks about boys, worries about fitting in and making friends but she is smart and resourceful. This book will appeal to teens as well as adults and anyone who likes mysteries and historical fiction. In the back of the book there is a glossary explaining the slang and also a question and answer section with the author. Iris continues her adventures in The Girl Is Trouble.
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Review By: Jan Bridges