Jolly foul play a murder.., p.1
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       Jolly Foul Play: A Murder Most Unladylike Mystery, p.1

           Robin Stevens
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Jolly Foul Play: A Murder Most Unladylike Mystery


  Contents

  Cover

  About the Book

  Title Page

  Dedication

  Maps

  List of Characters

  Part One: Sparks Will Fly

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Part Two: Constant Vigilance

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Part Three: The Scandal Book

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Part Four: The Detective Society in Danger

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Part Five: Kidnapped

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Part Six: Holmes & Watson

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Part Seven: The Detective Society Save the Day

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Daisy’s Guide to Deepdean

  Acknowledgments

  About the Author

  Also by Robin Stevens

  Copyright

  About the Book

  Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong have returned to Deepdean for a new school term, but nothing is the same. There’s a new Head Girl, Elizabeth Hurst, and a team of Prefects – and these bullying Big Girls are certainly not good eggs.

  Then, after the fireworks display on Bonfire Night, Elizabeth is found – murdered.

  Many girls at Deepdean had reason to hate Elizabeth, but who might have committed such foul play? Could the murder be linked to the secrets and scandals, scribbled on scraps of paper, that are suddenly appearing around the school? And with their own friendship falling to pieces, how will Daisy and Hazel solve this mystery?

  To my parents.

  Everything I write is really for you –

  this book especially so.

  THE STAFF

  Miss Barnard – Headmistress

  Miss Lappet – History and Latin mistress

  Mr MacLean – Reverend

  Mademoiselle Renauld, ‘Mamzelle’ – French mistress

  Miss Runcible – Science mistress

  Miss Morris – Music and Art mistress

  Miss Dodgson – English mistress

  Miss Talent – Games mistress

  Mrs Minn, ‘Minny’ – Nurse

  Mr Jones – Handyman

  Matron – Matron

  THE GIRLS

  Daisy Wells – Fourth Former and President of the Wells & Wong Detective Society

  Hazel Wong – Fourth Former and Vice-President and Secretary of the Wells & Wong Detective Society

  HEAD GIRL

  Elizabeth Hurst

  PREFECTS

  Florence Hamersley

  Lettice Prestwich

  Una Dichmann

  Enid Gaines

  Margaret Dolliswood

  BIG GIRLS

  Pippa Daventry

  Alice Murgatroyd

  Astrid Frith

  Heather Montefiore

  Emmeline Moss

  Jennifer Stone

  Elsie Drew-Peters

  FOURTH FORMERS

  Lavinia Temple – Assistant and Friend of the Detective Society

  Rebecca ‘Beanie’ Martineau – Assistant and Friend of the Detective Society

  Kitty Freebody – Assistant and Friend of the Detective Society

  Clementine Delacroix

  Sophie Croke-Finchley

  Rose Pritchett

  Jose Pritchett

  THIRD FORMERS

  Binny Freebody

  Martha Grey

  Alma Collingwood

  The Marys

  SECOND FORMER

  Betsy North

  FIRST FORMERS

  Emily Dow

  Charlotte Waiting

  Being an account of

  The Case of the Murder of Elizabeth Hurst,

  an investigation by the Wells and Wong Detective Society.

  Written by Hazel Wong

  (Detective Society Vice-President and Secretary), aged 14.

  Begun Wednesday 6th November 1935.

  1

  We were all looking up, and so we missed the murder.

  I have never seen Daisy so furious. She has been grinding her teeth (so hard that my teeth ache in sympathy) and saying, ‘Oh, Hazel! How could we not notice it? We were on the spot!’

  You see, Daisy needs to know things, and see everything, and get in everywhere. Being reminded that despite all the measures she puts in place (having informants in the younger years, ingratiating herself with the older girls and Jones the handyman and the mistresses), there are still things going on at Deepdean that she does not understand – well, that has put her in an even worse mood than the one she has been in lately.

  And, if I am honest, I feel strangely ashamed. The Detective Society has solved three real murder mysteries so far, and yet we still missed a murder taking place under our noses, in our very own Deepdean School for Girls – the place where we began our detective careers one year ago.

  It really is funny to think about that. It seems in a way as though we have not moved at all – or as though we have made a circle, and come all the way back to the beginning again. I suppose I still look almost exactly like the Hazel I was when I ran into the Gym and found Miss Bell, our Science mistress, lying on the floor last October. I am not much taller, anyway. When I measured myself last week, I found I have hardly grown at all – or at least, not upwards. My hair is still straight and dark brown, my face is still round, and I still have the spot on my nose (I suppose it must be a different spot, but it does not look that way). Inside, though, I feel quite different. All the things that have happened the past year have made me quite a new shape, I think – one who has faced up to the murderer at Daisy’s home, Fallingford, and defied my father to solve the Orient Express case. On the other hand, sometimes I think that even though Daisy keeps on shooting upwards, and becoming blonder and lovelier than ever, she has stayed the same inside. She bounces back from things, like a rubber ball – not even what happened at Fallingford could truly alter her.

  Before the fifth of November, I had no
t been enjoying Deepdean much this term. Just like the changes that have taken place in me, the school has felt different from last year, and not at all in a good way. It has felt as though something awful were rushing towards us all term. Last night was dreadful, but now it has happened I feel almost relieved. It is like the difference between waiting to go in to the dentist and sitting in his chair.

  And now that there is a murder to solve, Daisy and I can be the Detective Society again. It is sometimes difficult being Daisy’s best friend, but being her Vice-President and Secretary is much more simple. This case, though, will not be simple at all.

  You see, the person who has died – who we think has been murdered – is our new Head Girl.

  2

  This case began yesterday, on Tuesday the fifth of November, but all the same, to explain it properly I must wind backwards, all the way to the end of summer term.

  That was when Daisy and I were preoccupied with our upcoming holiday on the Orient Express, but although we were not paying much attention to them at the time, extremely important things were happening with Miss Barnard and the Big Girls.

  For the purposes of this new casebook, I must mention who Miss Barnard is. You see, after the case of Miss Bell was over, there were almost no mistresses left at Deepdean. This means that everyone except red-haired, dramatic Mamzelle, old Mr MacLean, and Miss Lappet with her big bosom, is entirely new since last December. Miss Barnard is our new Headmistress. She is slender and tall, and I think quite young – at least, there is still brown in her hair. She is also calm, and kind, and sensible, and she has a way of making you feel safe – something Deepdean badly needs, after last year. But sometimes kindness is not the best thing. As Daisy always says, it is no good being nice if the people you are being nice to are not nice themselves.

  Now Miss Griffin, our last Headmistress, always chose the next Head Girl at the end of each school year. She knew every girl’s character, and judged it carefully before she made her choice. But Miss Barnard did not know any of the Big Girls really well by the time it came to make her selection last summer term, and so instead of choosing, she let it go to a vote. And that was quite disastrous, for it meant that Elizabeth Hurst could bend the vote her way, and have herself elected Head Girl.

  The outside of Elizabeth Hurst was not particularly remarkable. She was tall and broad-shouldered, with a pale face and sandy hair, just like most of the girls at Deepdean. The only clue as to what was inside her was the smile at one side of her mouth. It never went away, and it was not a very nice smile. It looked as though she was remembering something nasty about you, and deciding whether or not to say it aloud. That smile was the truth about her, for Elizabeth was in the business of secrets.

  That makes her sound somewhat like Daisy – but while Daisy likes to know things just for the pleasure of it, to make things fit in her head, Elizabeth used the things she knew. Just like a cat snatching little birds out of their nests, she took all the information she could find about each girl at Deepdean, and kept it. And she didn’t simply use the information she gathered – or at least, not immediately. Instead, she would store it up like a present for the day when it would become useful to her. And when it did – well, then you would be ruined.

  There had been one girl, Nina Lamont, generally thought to be the front runner for the Head Girl position – until Elizabeth was seen paying Miss Barnard a visit one morning, looking very grave. Later that day it came out that Nina had stolen from the Benefactors’ Fund. And after that no one could vote for her at all. She did not even come back to Deepdean this year. Apparently, she had been sent to prison – although Daisy said that this was not true, and that it was only to a school in France.

  Elizabeth led a group of five girls, the oddest and angriest and most hateful in their year. They were Elizabeth’s helpers, like a bruising, bullying version of Daisy’s little informants, and they went about prising facts out of all us younger years and feeding them back to Elizabeth. We called them the Five, and we hated them.

  So you can see why everyone at Deepdean was quite terrified of Elizabeth, and why we all got the most horrible thrill when we heard that she had indeed been elected Head Girl – and, as was tradition, had chosen five other Big Girls to be her prefects. Of course, she chose her helpers – and so when we came back to Deepdean this year, Elizabeth and the Five were running the school.

  3

  We had been afraid of Elizabeth and the Five, but all the same, I do not think we quite understood how dreadful the new year would be until we were a few weeks into it. At first, the autumn term felt as clean and full of possibility as ever – new timetables, new pencils and inkwells, and exercise books with none of their pages torn out to pass notes. We were fourth formers, closer than ever to being Big Girls, and we undid our top buttons daringly in celebration. Kitty even tried to leave her hair down, although Miss Lappet told her off at once. Clementine had a new contraband bracelet, and Beanie had a dormouse which she hid in her tuck box (it was called Chutney, and all it did was sleep). It seemed as though this term might be better than the last – the shadow of Fallingford had finally lifted, for The Trial was over and the murderer in prison.

  But then the Five began their punishments.

  Elizabeth was absolutely in control of the school’s discipline, and behind everything that happened, but the genius of her was that she never carried out any of the punishments. It was only ever the Five who came after us, and they did it quite dreadfully.

  Red-headed, fierce, athletic Florence Hamersley, captain of the hockey team and in training for the hurdles at next summer’s Olympics, was a stickler for laziness. If you were late to breakfast or dinner, or slow at toothbrushes in the evening, her hand would come down on your shoulder and the next thing you knew you were running ten laps around House in the cold and the rain. If you did it slowly, you had to run twenty.

  Dark-haired Lettice Prestwich was even nastier. She ought to have been pretty – she would have been, if she were not so thin. With her, we lived on shifting sand, waiting for the catastrophe. Any flaw in your uniform at all – a missing button, an undone tie – and she would pounce on you, shrieking. She made the shrimps cry almost every day. Once she marched into our dorm and, hearing squeaks from Beanie’s tuck box, discovered Chutney the dormouse. She took him to Matron at once, who put him outside – Beanie sobbed, of course, and we were all furious. Beanie, our friend and dorm mate, is very small, and not at all good at schoolwork – but she is good, and that counts for quite a lot. But there was nothing to be done. Chutney was gone.

  Una Dichmann is from Germany, where her father has a most important position in the Nazi Party, and she is blonde and pretty as a fairy-tale princess – but if you failed to treat her, or any of the rest of the Five, with the respect you ought, she would have you carrying her books between lessons and shouting at you if you did not move quickly enough.

  Enid Gaines does not look as threatening as the others, at first. She is a swot, Deepdean’s great hope for a Classics place at Oxford next year, and her nose is always in a book. She is small – almost as short as I am – and has a dull, forgettable face. But if you laughed in the corridors, or whispered in Prayers, she would turn on you, and you would find yourself writing lines – I must obey my elders and betters – a hundred times at lunch break.

  The last member of the Five is Margaret Dolliswood. She is large and angry – unhappiness radiates off her in waves. Fail to get out of her way, or draw attention to yourself at meals and bunbreaks, and you would find your food snatched out of your hands and your wrists pinched. I have gone hungry many times because of her – which I think the worst cruelty of all.

  The Five’s punishments were dreadful, and there was no escape from them. When we went up to House, one would always be taking our Prep, and another supervising the common room, and they all sat at the end of our tables at dinner. We were under siege, and the worst thing was that none of the mistresses or Matron noticed. Grown-ups never do see thi
s sort of thing – to them, any harm children do to each other does not really matter.

  It felt as though we were rabbits waiting for the fox to pounce. Elizabeth and her five prefects patrolled the school, and their viciousness spread down, until we were all at each other’s throats. They made us all so miserable that even the nicest girls began to argue and snipe at each other horribly. Under the force of the Big Girls’ nastiness, we all became nastier too – the fifth formers to the fourth, us to the third, the third to the second and so on. All the old alliances broke down under the pressure of it. Deepdean itself was changed, so much so that although its black-and-white corridors and wide windows and chalk smell was no different, I could barely recognize it.

  Daisy, of course, was furious. There are certain places that, in her own mind, belong to her. Deepdean is one of them, and the fact that it had gone wrong sent her into an absolute rage. I had decided that this year would simply have to be endured, like any other unpleasant thing, but Daisy does not endure. She cannot bear not to try to solve any problem that she comes up against, and Elizabeth and the Five became the most fascinating of problems, all the more so because the truth was that there was nothing she could do about them. She did not even have her old confidant King Henry to give her prestige among the Big Girls – for, of course, King Henry was no longer our Head Girl. She was far away at Cambridge, where Daisy could not use her.

  ‘I’m watching them,’ Daisy told me, over and over again. ‘I’m watching her. Elizabeth can’t think she’ll get away with it. She can’t be allowed.’

  It seemed to me that she could – and that she was. Elizabeth had committed no crime apart from nastiness. Her blackmail was so subtle that there was nothing we could pin on her, nothing we could detect. In fact the Detective Society had no cases at all this term, apart from the strange case of Violet Darby which Daisy solved in a day in September. (Daisy is rather proud of that case.)

  ‘I’d like to squash Elizabeth’s head,’ said Lavinia furiously as Beanie sobbed over her fifth detention in two weeks (for misspelling the word ‘privilege’ in the essay she wrote for her fourth detention. This was not fair at all. Beanie struggles with making her words the right shape, and her numbers add up properly on the page). ‘I’d like to squash her into pulp.’

 
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