Review: The Girl Is Trouble by Kathryn Miller Haines
I like my mystery detectives to be like Sherlock or Poirot. Those all-knowing eyes seeing the littlest clues in the most unlikely places. Or, for them to be like Jacques Clouseau, an utter clutz that still manages to solve the mystery by pure luck. The problem I had with The Girl Is Trouble is that the heroine was neither.
Iris Anderson and her dad, a veteran, are living in the Lower East Side. Her mother committed suicide almost a year ago, and dad doesn’t want to talk about it. When Iris discovers new evidence, she is determined to find out what really happened.
I absolutely love the 40s setting in Manhattan. It’s a historical setting that I’m not that familiar with, and it was great to be sucked back to the time of funny dances and long skirts. Of course there is also the darker side of that time; the second world war. The war is ever present in this book, but never annoyingly so. I thought the background was very well done.
This book can easily be read as a stand-alone. I haven’t read the first book, The Girl Is Murder, but I had absolutely no troubles following the storyline. There were maybe a couple of references to a previous case, but nothing that threw me off.
The only thing that kept annoying me throughout the book is the heroine, Iris. There isn’t really anything wrong with her. Her personality isn’t obnoxious or too stupid to live. It’s just that she has absolutely no hand in solving the mystery AT ALL. About every single major plot twist has to be explained to Iris by her weird best friend Pearl, which was a way more interesting character for me. The clues just kind of come to her, and the only thing Iris has to do is fit them together. Another point I didn’t very much like is Iris’s voice. She’s supposed to be fifteen, yet she thinks like a twenty year-old. Fifteen isn’t that long ago for me that I can’t remember what it was like, and I am pretty sure I didn’t have that many insightful views on my own life and thoughts. That’s something you learn with experience, and even though tragedies like your mom dying make you grow up fast, you still don’t have the life experiences to objectively categorise and analyse your thoughts and feelings. Just my two cents.
This was a very fast-paced read, and with two overlapping cases (Iris is asked to find a secret note-writer and the case of her mother) make sure the story keeps moving. There are some very interesting characters in the book like the best friend Pearl and the daughter of the landlady Betty. I recommend this for people looking for a fast mystery read, and I think a younger audience will definitely appreciate this read.
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