I asked my local library to purchase this one and the second book is still listed as "On Order."
We loved Myrtle! She's a true amateur sleuth, fearless even when locked in a room with a dead body, and in fact takes full advantage of the nasty bullying "prank" to investigate the murder. No shrinking violets -- or lillies (wink, wink) -- here.
Myrtle, at age 12, is the daughter of a public prosecutor in London. When the next door neighbor, the elderly Miss Wodehouse, and her gardener fail to appear on schedule one morning, and a pot is overturned and the cat, Peony, seen (through the telescope) digging in it, Myrtle wastes no time -- she knocks on the door. When no one answers, she doesn't ask permission, she calls the police. She's convinced something horrible has happened to the old woman, possibly a spectacular poisoning, and indeed -- police find the old woman -- dead in the bathtub.
But whether it's murder, and by whom, and why, is up to Myrtle, governess in tow, to prove, after she blurts it out to the local magistrate judge and humiliates her father in court. Now, death and murder are not at all proper topics for young ladies to concern themselves with.
So Myrtle is sidetracked with having to pay a social call to the neighborhood girls, specifically -- oh it's just too good -- the coroner's daughter. He has a "laboratory" in his basement at home, where the girls lock Myrtle. Undeterred, she goes about reading files marked "Decapitated?" and "Arsenic" and digitalis, and finally gives in to her curiosity and examines the doctor's experiment observing blowflies on human flesh (which is a bit much for her, but not too much -- Myrtle recuperates quickly). She doesn't find the Wodehouse file, but does learn the doctor believes the 80-year-old seemingly died -- falling into her bathtub -- of a heart attack.
I won't reveal how Myrtle figures out the mystery, but it all revolves around the cat, Peony, and the seeming destruction of Miss Wodehouse's lily garden, and of course, figuring out who has the most to gain from Miss Wodehouse's death.
This was a delightful murder mystery, and I can't wait to get my hands on Myrtle's next case!