A Girl Called Justice

by Elly Griffiths
Recommended age: 9+
A Girl Called Justice
by Elly Griffiths

'A Girl Called Justice' is the first children's book by Elly Griffiths who is the hugely popular and successful author of the Ruth Galloway novels and the Stephens and Mephisto series, plus standalone novel 'The Stranger Diaries'. Elly has an astonishing output, and she's a great speaker and writer, so I was full of anticipation for this foray into 'the middle grade'.

Justice Jones is the daughter of a barrister and she is sent to a grim, isolated, boarding school after her mother dies.

While Justice is daunted by making new friends and coping with the austere and forbidding teaching staff, she does like a good murder mystery. So, when she learns on the drive to the school that there has been a recent death, she resolves to uncover the perpetrator.

I wasn't expecting quite so much realism in terms of the brutality of the deaths, the extent of the body count, the poignant motive of the murderer, and the sense of foreboding and threat, in a book for this age group. But I suppose I was reading Agatha Christie when I was 10 or 11.

It's certainly a good read. I loved Justice, and the burgeoning friendships with Dorothy and Stella was well done.

The story is set in the 1930s so there's a lovely nostalgic feel with maids and fountain pens, and no mobile phones or internet - when the school is cut off in a snowstorm there is no opportunity to phone or even write for outside help!

I look forward to reading further installments in what will be a popular series, I'm sure.

Review date: April 2019