Read Harder Challenge #24

Prompt: Pick a challenge from any of the previous years’ challenge to complete….SO…Read a middle grade mystery (2021).

My Choice: The Body Under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyn

This prompt was a no-brainer. I did not complete the Read Harder challenge last year but I LOVE middle grade mysteries and it was easy to choose this prompt from last year. The Body Under the Piano is the first in Jocelyn’s series about a young Agatha Christie. Obviously, perfection, and obviously, this series is only loosely based on Christie’s life.

Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal — including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends — to solve the case before Aggie’s beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn’t commit.

-From Amazon

I loved everything about this story. It was sweet, funny, and the mystery was engaging without being too frightening for younger readers. Jocelyn also has such a lovely and tender way of writing a story that addresses grief, anxiety, and feeling “other.” Main character Agatha “Aggie” Morton is sweet and smart and I love how kind she is. She is introduced in this story to Hector Perot (fans of Christie will recognize who this character is supposed to be based on) and their friendship is darling.

At this point, I have read the next two books in the series and I highly recommend. I have loved them all. I have listened to all three on audio and the narrator, Sarah English, does an amazing job. Apparently the books have some illustrations, so I would love to get my hands on them at some point to see those!

If you like middle grade stories, and/or stories connected with Agatha Christie, you would enjoy this!

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