Title: The Nancys
Author: R.W.R. McDonald
Published: June 2019
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Content warnings: murder
I received a copy of The Nancys from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A schoolgirl and her uncle and his boyfriend have two weeks to solve a murder in a small town style forgot…
Tippy is in love with her uncle’s old Nancy Drew books, especially the early ones where Nancy was sixteen and did whatever she wanted. She wants to be Nancy and is desperate to solve a real mystery. When her teacher’s body is found beside Riverstone’s only traffic light, Tippy’s moment has arrived. She and her minders form The Nancys, a secret amateur detective club.
But what starts as a bonding and sightseeing adventure quickly morphs into something far more dangerous. A wrongful arrest, a close call with the murderer, and an intervention from Tippy’s mum all conspire against The Nancys. But regardless of their own safety, and despite the constant distraction of questionable fashion choices in the town that style forgot, The Nancys know only they can stop the killer from striking again.
The Nancys is gripping and glorious, a heart-warming novel for anyone who’s ever felt they were on the outside looking in. At its heart it is about the family we make and how we must summon the courage to face the truth, no matter what the cost may be.
The Nancys is a delightfully fun read that has plenty of cozy-mystery vibes.
Eleven year old Tippy Chan is spending a week in the care of her Uncle Pike and his partner, Devon, while her mother goes on a cruise. When her teacher is murdered, Tippy gets the chance to follow in the footsteps of her hero, Nancy Drew, and together with Uncle Pike and Devon they decide to investigate what really happened in her small hometown. Every group investigative team need a name, and what better name than The Nancys.
I really enjoyed this from start to finish. The book is as much about family as it is about solving the murder – there’s a complicated relationship between Tippy’s mother (Helen) and Uncle Pike, between Uncle Pike and the local news reporter, and also Tippy’s dynamic with Helen after the death of Tippy’s father prior to the beginning of the book. Devon is the outsider who, born and bred in Australia, follows his partner back to his New Zealand hometown for his first introduction to the family. McDonald really shows how these characters are learning about each other and having to really relearn their familial bonds under unexpected circumstances.
The entire story is told from Tippy’s perspective, which is fascinating, because as an eleven year old she interprets what’s happening around her in a different way to the adults. There is a lot of humour that she misses that we, as readers, enjoy, without it being condescending to her. It’s clear the adults in her life adore her and want to include her – something that’s important to Tippy, since she’s a bit of an outsider. Uncle Pike and Devon, in particular, have a wicked sense of humour. Pike is a famous hair stylist and Devon works in the fashion industry and there’s a lot of talk of (questionable) style and fashion throughout the book.
This book has a little bit of everything: murder, mystery, humour, creepy small children, small town vibes and a lot of fun.
I’m looking forward to reading the follow-up novel, Nancy Business early in June, so stay tuned for that review.