Monday, March 16, 2020

Review: A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER by Holly Jackson

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I had a really fun time reading this book! I was so invested in it that I could sit for hours and read, which is not common for me, as I usually have to get up every 30 minutes and do something else, but that was not the case with this book because I needed to know what was going to happen. I don’t read a lot of mysteries but it’s a genre I want to get into more, so I’m glad this book was this month’s book club pick.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder follows Pippa as she decides to investigate a closed murder case for her senior project. Five years ago, Sal Singh killed his girlfriend, Andie Bell, and then killed himself. There’s no “allegedly” about it; all evidence points to him. But Pip still thinks he’s innocent and plans to prove it.

This book reads like a true-crime story to me. It contains interview transcripts, text message transcripts, and journal logs on top of the ordinary prose. I absolutely love books told in a non-traditional format, and it made me fly through this book even faster. I loved feeling like us readers were able to solve the case along with Pip.

I did have a lot of theories and at one point sort of guessed what the truth was, but then I immediately doubted myself. There are lots of layers and lies and twists in this story, and even if you guess part of the truth, I don’t think you’ll be able to guess the full truth.

One tiny issue I did have with this book is that it felt like Pip came by her sources a little too easily at times. She interviews the murder victim’s younger sister, Becca, at one point, but she won’t reveal any information to Pip, so Pip immediately is like, “Oh, her best friend at the time of the murder was this girl, I’ll just interview her instead,” and she does and gets a plethora of information from her. It was just weird because it felt like we reached a stumbling block and there was tension because she couldn’t interview Becca, and the very next page she’s calling up a person who has never before been mentioned and who provides all the missing information we needed. There were a few instances like that that felt too easy, and a few other times when Pip was not ethical about how she obtained some information, but I’m not even that mad about it because I enjoyed everything else so much. 

With every new detail reveal, I would tell my husband and have him help theorize with me what was going on. He’s very smart and really good at solving puzzles so he always guesses the outcomes of murder mysteries, so I loved talking with him about this book. We had a lot of theories worked out, yet we still managed to be shocked by the ending.

I didn’t end up loving the ending. I thought it was a little too rushed and that Pip was banking on conjectures a little too much. But A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder was still a solid debut! Despite there being a few very minor flaws I addressed above, this was still an extremely fun mystery that really did have me guessing until the very end. Would definitely recommend.

Pip finds a note in Andie’s day planner that said she was meeting with HH. Pip thought that meant Howie’s House. But then she goes to the Ivy House Inn and meets a Henry Hill, who I instantly thought was HH. And the grandma there—although she had Alzheimer’s—she mentioned seeing Andie a few weeks ago. I thought for sure this lead was going somewhere, especially since Pip just blew it off and thought it wasn’t important. But nope! HH was not Henry Hill, which actually disappointed me because I thought I had guessed a hidden clue. None of that mattered in the end.

I thought when Pippa went to 42 Gravesend Rd. to confront Mr. Ward that she couldn’t be 100% sure that Andie was there and alive inside. But she called the police and told them as much. Then she went inside, knowing Mr. Ward was dangerous and a killer. I don’t know why he let her just stand there and threaten him, why he didn’t try to hurt her or anything. That seems a little unrealistic.

If Becca took Andie’s car and that’s what was seen on the CCTV camera, didn’t it also see Becca walking home later? I guess she could have come home a different way, but I think this should have still been addressed at least.

1 comment:

  1. I thought Henry Hill from the Ivy House was the older guy - and then referenced as HH in Andie’s planner. I hung onto this thinking I figured it out until the number of pages I had left to read began shrinking. When I read it was Ward - I wasn’t even shocked because in my head I was like well it’s not him it’s Henry. Made for a good twist! I know Henry Hill was an intentional placement for this reason.