The Agathas

Authored by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson
Published by Rock the Boat

Alice Ogilvie is determined to solve the mystery of her friend’s death using her knowledge of Agatha Christie and accompanied by some unlikely characters.

Alice Ogilvie is rich, isolated and obsessed with Agatha Christie. When she senses that the police have arrested the wrong person for the murder of her school friend, she sets about to uncover the mystery. She is supported in her quest by school colleagues she would normally never even acknowledge.

The Agathas is set in Castle Cove, an affluent town on the west coast of America. Alice and her friends have led very privileged lives but one summer this all starts to unravel. Alice finds herself isolated and ostracised by her former companions and when one of them dies under mysterious circumstances she sets out to discover what really happened. The story is very exciting and the action moves quickly. Characters are very well defined and the reader develops a range of emotions such as empathy, anger, suspicion and pity for many of them. This is a story clearly set within an American High School but the action and themes are relatable for British readers. There is humour in Alice basing many of her decisions on ideas from reading Agatha Christie books. Alice forms an unlikely friendship with Iris who has a very different but equally lonely home life. Together they discover unexpected skills and look beyond the decisions made by the local police.

This is a text for young adults as some of the themes are quite gritty. The story presents death, family abuse, parental neglect, the effects of drugs and sexual activity. These elements are coherently presented as part of the story and they could lead to opportunities for discussion. The structure of the text is also appealing to this age range with emails, texts, Facebook and Instagram posts forming part of the narrative. This is a modern, pacy novel that is very enjoyable to read.

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