We meet young Justice on her way to boarding school for the first time. It’s the 1930s, her mother’s just died, and this is Justice’s first ever school. You kind of wish she’d been sent to a safer one. Where dead baby* is not on the menu daily. Even a school where they have heating occasionally.
I didn’t know Elly Griffiths, but I understand she has written adult crime novels before tackling the popular 1930s boarding school crime trope. At first I thought that the plot was a little slow, and I wondered if we could place young detectives somewhere different from a boarding school in the past. But I didn’t come up with an answer to that, and from the acknowledgements I learned that Elly based the book on her mother’s time at such a school. Hopefully one with fewer corpses.
And you know, I got drawn in. People are dying or disappearing all over the place, and then comes the deep snow and they are cold and hungry and can’t escape. You wonder how many victims you can have in a crime novel for the young, set in a school with limited resources, so to speak. As with Midsomer, if there are more books, will there be a big enough supply of more victims and more murderers?
I hope so. Well, I obviously don’t. Not even the more obnoxious pupils deserve to be murdered out there on the Romney Marshes. But where’s the fun in having introduced Justice if she is to sleuth no more?
*I gather it’s some sort of food.