I tend to say, if asked, that I don’t like crime fiction.  It’s certainly true that I can’t read explicit violence or about lots of blood and anguish.  However, I do like the mystery element of these books.  I enjoy the unfolding discoveries of the detectives (professional or otherwise) and trying to understand the workings of the characters’ minds.  So I was delighted to come across some murder mysteries for younger readers and thought I’d share a couple of them with you.

Travelling home by bus one day, Maya takes a photo of the Christmas lights as she passes but inadvertently catches something else. Suddenly she is under police protection and living in the remote Welsh mountains with her distracted aunt and surly cousin.  Is she really in danger as the police think?  And is being cut off by snow a blessing or a curse? Murder in Midwinter is a taut and exciting thriller.  Fleur Hitchcock beautifully captures Maya’s sense of unreality and fear as she untangles family relationships along with the mystery.  This is just one of Fleur Hitchcock’s novels for Nosy Crow and the others are well worth reading too.

Puffin has already established an excellent series and Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong return for another unladylike murder mystery in Mistletoe and Murder.  The school friends are spending Christmas in Cambridge with Daisy’s brother and great-aunt.  Before they’ve even settled in they are faced with puzzling and unsettling events.  And when a fatal accident occurs in Maudlin College the girls suspect that it might have been planned.  Determined to prove that it was, in fact, murder the girls reluctantly accept the help of fellow Cambridge visitors, George and Alexander.  Nancy Drew meets the Chalet School in this clever crime novel set in the 1930s.  Robin Stevens’ period detail, strong characters and meticulous plotting come together in a satisfying story.

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