Good Girl, Bad Blood

4 stars

Good Girl, Bad Blood.

In the second installment in the A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series, Pip Fitz-Amobi and her boyfriend Ravi are reluctantly pulled into a new investigation. When the police won’t look into the sudden disappearance of the older brother of one of Pip’s friends, she takes up the case. 

I liked this book better than the first in the series. While both are good, the storyline was more focused, and, for the most part, it seemed more believable than in the first book. 

I also appreciated that the author let us see some of the personal effects the cases and the podcasts had on Pip. Being involved in the investigations of crimes against friends, finding out people you grew up with are not who you thought they were, and dealing with the notoriety that comes with hosting a popular podcast is bound to take an emotional toll on a high school student. These impacts weren’t completely ignored. I also enjoyed that Pip had matured in this story, though she still comes across as a high school student.

“Some people are pretty good at hiding who they really are.”

Holly Jackson, Good Girl, Bad Blood

If you haven’t read the first book, you will definitely want to before reading this one as some plotlines continue. One of my favorite continuances from the first book is the inclusion of Pip’s interview notes and transcripts. These details again immersed me in her investigation.

I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys YA thrillers or was a Nancy Drew fan as a kid. While the book deals with grown-up crimes, it definitely still reads like young adult fiction, so if you’re not a YA fan, you may want to pass.

My review of the first book in the series: https://bookpicksandpics.com/2022/01/03/a-good-girls-guide-to-murder-by-holly-jackson/

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

3 stars

In this novel, Marie Benedict hypothesizes about what happened during Agatha Christie’s most famous unsolved mystery, her own 11-day disappearance. 

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

The book alternates between Agatha’s life when she first met and married Archie Christie and each day of her disappearance. In many ways, Archie Christie was the main character of this historical fiction work, and the portrait Benedict paints of Colonel Christie isn’t a flattering one. He comes across as demanding, domineering, and narcissistic, with all of Agatha’s actions centered on him.

It was interesting to read this book so soon after reading The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont. While the books cover the same time period, the two fictional accounts are very different. I’d give de Gramont an edge in the writing – her prose was more captivating than Benedict’s flatter style. 

However, de Gramont definitely took a lot more creative license in her story. Benedict’s account was much more believable and seemed much closer to what could have actually happened. 

Both portray Agatha as a strong, talented woman but in different ways. The Mystery of Mrs. Christie deals more with her relationship with her mother and sister, her affection for her daughter, and the pressure she felt to be the perfect wife. For most of the book, The Christie Affair portrays her as a colder, more career-oriented person who seems ambivalent toward her daughter.

My full review of The Christie Affair is linked below: https://bookpicksandpics.com/2022/04/03/the-christie-affair-by-nina-de-gramont/

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

4 stars

The cover of The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont.
The Christie Affair

I picked up The Christie Affair because it is my book club’s pick this month. A historical fiction work, the novel imagines what happened during Agatha Christie’s brief, unexplained disappearance. 

Told from the point of view of Nan O’Dea, Archie Christie’s mistress, the story opens with a glimpse into O’Dea’s past and jumps to the present, a few days before Agatha vanishes. The story alternates back and forth between the two time periods, weaving in a lot of grief, heartbreak, and intrigue along the way.

The author’s explanation behind why the famous author disappeared is both fascinating and moving, though some of the events seemed a little far-fetched. The lovely prose, shrewd observations about humans, and a surprising take on the relationship between Nan and Agatha helped me look past some of the implausible moments. 

“I hadn’t learned yet. In this world, it’s the obedient girls who are most in danger.”

The Christie Affair

One of the lines that resonated with me in the book was, “I hadn’t learned yet. In this world, it’s the obedient girls who are most in danger.” I think every woman wonders at some point whether following the rules is going to be her downfall in the end.

Overall, this was a pleasant, well-written read that has me wanting to learn more about Agatha Christie. In fact, I’ve started to read The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, which is Marie Benedict’s take on the unsolved mystery of Agatha Christie’s 11-day disappearance. It will be interesting to compare the two novels once I’ve finished.

Are you an Agatha Christie fan? Have you read either of these books attempting to explain her disappearance?