A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder| Holly Jackson | Investigative Crime Fiction at its Best

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A Good Girl's guide to murder

Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Author :  Holly Jackson

Pages : 433

Genre : Crime, Investigation, Murder Mystery, Thriller, Young adults, Trilogy, Series

Language : English

Rating : 5/5

What is the Plot of ‘The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’

About five years back, the quiet town of little Kilton was rocked by a twin murder-suicide of a teenage girl Andie Bell and her boyfriend Salil Singh aka Sal Singh. At that time the police investigation concluded that Andie Bell was killed by Sal Singh and then a few days later out of guilt he killed himself.

Though to Pippa’s astonishment, there were quite a few red flags in the police story:

  1. Firstly, Andie Bell’s body was never found, so how could they conclude she was dead?
  2. Secondly,Sal Singh was a diligent and bright student, he was not known to be aggressive or to get into brawls or physical fights, to expect him to murder his own girl friend seemed far fetched to Pippa.
  3. Thirdly,what was the motive behind killing Andie when they never had a public fight?
  4. Fourthly, Pippa knew Sal from her school days as a kind and caring boy and labelling him as murderer making the whole family social pariah seemed unfair to her. She wanted to know the truth.
  5. Fifthly, Pippa had known how it felt to be different and alienated -her step father,Victor Amobi,was a giant Nigerian man,while Pippa was white.Very often when they ventured out as a family, people gave them lingering and curious looks as if trying to work out the “logistics ” of her family.Similarly Sal Singh’s family too was affected by this murder allegation, they were socially ostracized. Being of Indian origin Sal Singh’s younger brother, Ravi was often labelled as “one of those brute Indian male chauvinists with hot tempers who beat up their wife at the drop of a hat.”

These reasons were compelling enough for Pippa Fitz Amobi aka Pip to choose this case for the topic of her EPQ ( Extended Project Qualification) – A project you work on independently alongside your A-levels in the final year of school School. The title of Pippa’s EPQ was – “A detailed report on how both print/televised media and social media have become invaluable players in in police investigations, using Andie Bell as a case study.”

Naturally it was Ravi, the brother of Sal Singh, who became her companion in their quest for truth and to hopefully clear Sal’s name.

Who has written ‘A Good Girl’s guide to Murder’?

This book is the debut novel of Holly Jackson. Her first unpublished novel was written at the age of 15.Holly Jackson has an MA in English literature and has studied creative writing and literary linguistics.She currently lives in London.

After the success of  ‘The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’ she further wrote two more books namely “Good Girl Bad Blood” and “As Good As Bad” that are sequels of this bestseller.


A Good Girl's guide to murder by Holly Jackson


My Thoughts about ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’

The Illustrations

The book has maps, diagrams and other such helpful illustrations that give the readers a good understanding of the chain of events and the locations of different places where the plot unfolds.

Cover Page Design

I have to praise the cover page. It has red threads criss-crossing across the book title.The red colour could denote blood or passion.The thread map adds to the appeal of the book.In fact some pages carry the black and white image of the pins on the top corner, which adds to the detective theme of the book.

This book was recommended by one of the fellow book bloggers in The Bookish League Blog Hop hosted by my friend Ritu Bindra and I wished to thank them but unfortunately I forgot who recommended it.

The Unique way of  Storytelling

The narration by Holly Jackson adopts a very different approach in the form of  a mix of Third person limited pointed of view , in this case from Pip’s point of view, along with Production log entries , Transcripts of Interviews that she conducts through mails or phone or in person, she also includes little maps and sometimes pictures to make the narration come alive and easy to follow.This is a very unique approach that initially made me feel sceptical but within  few seconds I loved it – it was like keeping a school practical journal- aim , objective, experiment done, findings of the experiment and deriving conclusions, you remember ?

The Plot

As mentioned previously in this post, the plot is suspenseful and holds the reader’s attention till the very end. For a first book, Holly Jackson has done a brilliant job of storytelling and building the suspense page by page.

The Ending

After being completely hooked for the initial 250 pages or so pages, the last few chapters felt a bit slow to me and I was aching to somehow race to the end and resolve the mystery. The pace slackens with many new clues and details popping up but the plot remains tight and intriguing.I must say for a seasoned and compulsive crime fiction enthusiast, the ending was not something I had imagined.



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You can also visit my Goodreads profile to check out my ratings and reviews of many other books.

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