Monday 5 November 2012

310. Poppy Fields Mystery #10: The Will to Live by Tanya Landman

Poppy Fields Murder Mystery Book 10: The Will to Live by Tanya Landman
Published October 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:
Tenth in the brilliantly addictive series of murder mysteries by an acclaimed and popular writer.
Poppy and Graham are staying in a grand country house for the weekend to help at a family christening party, but they're seriously unimpressed. Dull, dull, dull! Not to mention the fact that baby Marmaduke has taken a shine to Graham and won't let him out of his sight without shrieking the place down. Then events take a mysterious turn when a filthy tramp turns up in the churchyard ... dead. It isn't long before Poppy and Graham realize that his death is suspicious - as are all the others that follow.

I know the Poppy Fields books, and they have been quite popular.  I personally think the covers had something to do with that.  They looked just bloody and gory enough to attract the readers.  When I saw this book, I didn’t even recognise it as a Poppy Fields Mystery, as the cover is completely different.  See the pic to the right for Book 9, that will give you an idea how they used to look.

Three dead bodies and  being stranded in an old manor house with a murderer, not the usual scenario in a book for children.  The Poppy Fields books have taken one step up from being a regular mystery series, they are in fact murder mysteries.  While the premise of the story may sound odd for a book for a child, the ‘murders’ take place ‘off camera’ as it were, so we don’t see the killer in action, we just see the end result, the dead bodies.

In this book, Poppy and her friend Graham are roped in as servers for Graham’s Mums catering business.  The family they are working for are very rich, and more than a little odd.  When a tramp is found dead at the cemetery, it is sad, but no one thinks of foul play.  When Great Uncle Lawrence dies during the party, again no one thinks foul play, as he is very old.  Poppy and Graham are already having their suspicions, as they have noticed a few anomalies that no one else has seen.  It’s not until another r guest is found dead that they are certain a murder is I n their midst!

This book reads like an Agatha Christie for children, and it’s not surprising they are so popular as there is nothing much else like this. If you loo at the earlier cover above, you would think that it is a series aimed at young teenagers, but the change in cover probably has something to do with the fact that the characters are quite young and the readers start from about age 10.  As I mentioned there’s no gruesome descriptions, but the storyline and themes are quite sophisticated, so it would suit a mature reader who wants something a little different.

Who will like this book: Boys and Girls age 10+
Read it if you like: Murder mysteries

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