4 star

Review: The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow & Liz Lawson

Last summer, Alice Ogilvie’s basketball-star boyfriend Steve dumped her. Then she disappeared for five days. Where she went and what happened to her is the biggest mystery in Castle Cove, because she’s not talking. Or it was, at least. But now, another one of Steve’s girlfriends has vanished: Brooke Donovan, Alice’s ex–best friend. And it doesn’t look like Brooke will be coming back. . .

Enter Iris Adams, Alice’s tutor. Iris has her own reasons for wanting to disappear, though unlike Alice, she doesn’t have the money or the means. That could be changed by the hefty reward Brooke’s grandmother is offering to anyone who can share information about her granddaughter’s whereabouts. The police are convinced Steve is the culprit, but Alice isn’t so sure, and with Iris on her side, she just might be able to prove her theory.

In order to get the reward and prove Steve’s innocence, they need to figure out who killed Brooke Donovan. And luckily Alice has exactly what they need—the complete works of Agatha Christie. If there’s anyone that can teach the girls how to solve a mystery it’s the master herself. But the town of Castle Cove holds many secrets, and Alice and Iris have no idea how much danger they’re about to walk into. 

Another one that I’ve been anticipating for a while, and I got around to it! Even though I was never the biggest fan of Agatha Christie (I do like Murder on the Orient Express), I do respect her as a writer and it was cool to see so many of her pieces mentioned in this one. Overall it really delivered on that YA mystery vibe, the likes of Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, and I think it was quite a refreshing read!

The Agathas is basically a self-explanatory title. Two teenaged girls team up as a team of mystery solvers when one of their classmates suddenly goes missing. The POV is split between our two leads: one girl who was previously popular until her (ex-)best friend stole her boyfriend, and the other who is smart and quiet who ends up being her tutor. Together they go around town trying to involve the mystery that the police seems to be very nonchalant about.

The characters were overall quite realistic in this book. It is a typical YA feel and vibe, yes, but their levels of (im)maturity and rashness was rather endearing and reminded me a bit of what my friends and I might have been like back in high school as well. Of course, these days I prefer to read the adult thrillers and mysteries, but there’s always something great about reading about the youth as well. Each character had their flaws, and what they were struggling through, but they also had strengths and these two unlikely friends brought out the best in each other.

The plot was overall fairly decent. It wasn’t totally a surprise how it all turned out, but there were some good twists, and nothing was too overtly forecast. I think it was fairly obvious the path that the plot would follow, but the final ending was still a good enough surprise for me. Of course, not every ending has to be a surprise, but I think the author played with the predictability and tropes quite well.

The use of the typical mystery devices was quite well done. There were clues laid out everywhere, and things were tied back fairly convincingly in the end, and in that regard, I was quite satisfied with how things were brought back. Each protagonist had their own side personal story as well, which I felt sometimes detracted from the main plot. However, in the end I did see how it came together to be important, so I won’t knock it too hard for that one.

Overall Recommendations

The Agathas revolves around two teenaged girls who become the most unlikeliest of friends to solve the case of a missing classmate when no one else will believe in them. Channeling many old Agatha Christie favourites, if you’re a fan of her work, you are sure to enjoy this little rendition on a classic mystery trope. There is also some personal story for the protagonists in addition to just the mystery, so if you are into that as well, this is definitely the book for you!


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