The Agathas (An Agatha's Mystery) by Kathleen Glasgow & Liz Lawson
Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson have created a modern day Nancy Drew murder mystery with The Agatha’s. This first book in An Agatha’s Mystery series introduces us to teens Alice Ogilvie and Iris Adams, two very unlikely sleuthing partners whose worlds don’t even exist in the same orbit. Alice has been a member of the Mains, the high school clique with money and influence, while Iris runs with the kids from the other side of the tracks. A series of unlikely circumstances result in their pairing up for school but when Alice’s former best friend suspiciously dies and the local police charge the easy suspect the girls are compelled to find out what really happened. Luckily for them, Alice has read almost every Agatha Christie mystery and she uses that information for inspiration.
“We have to use what works best for stirring people up,” I tell her. “where do people enjoy giving opinions they know nothing about? Where do they enjoy taking part in a big old conspiracy-driven pile-on?’
Alice laughs. “On the internet, of course!”
I nod. “Exactly,” I say. “We have to hit adults and our esteemed peers where they hang out the most. Adults equal Facebook; our peers are dancing it out and weeping over on TikTok and Instagram.”
The premise of a murder mystery is the backdrop to also address other social issues. On a light note the view of social media and its impact is spot on and brings a quirky twist to an otherwise suspenseful topic. Alice and Iris are also struggling characters, with personal issues they try to hide from the rest of the world, but which color the way they see themselves. The difficult topics of abandonment, domestic violence, and dating violence are not sugar coated but incorporated in an impactful yet age appropriate manner. The budding friendship of two girls, whose lives are polar opposites, is truly the highlight of the book and the source of some witty and comical interactions.
“These blondes, sir, they’re responsible for a lot of trouble.” -Agatha Christie, The Labours of Hercules
The Agatha’s is a high tempo murder mystery that is quite complex and intriguing. With a cast of diverse characters and the beautiful but rugged California coastal town of Castle Cove as its setting, there are ample opportunities for the trail of the murderer to veer off in unexpected directions. Glasgow and Lawson use every opportunity to keep you on your toes as you watch them weave all the elements of a great mystery into this story. The fact that Alice is such a huge Agatha Christie fan, which I am one too, and incorporates her quotes and methods in their sleuthing is also a great touch and salute to one of the all-time great murder mystery writers. While Alice and Iris, as well as the content, was meant for a teen/YA audience the way that this great plotline was written makes for a clean adult story and the start to super new series!