On the penultimate day of the last half term, children’s crime writer, Robin Stevens, visited our combined Year Five. She talked about her early inspirations, explained how to construct a murder mystery and helped her young audience put together and solve a dastardly crime set in a museum!
We discovered that Hazel, one half of the Wells & Wong Detective Agency, is modelled on Robin’s teenage self. Robin felt as though she’d been transported back one hundred years when, newly arrived from America and aged thirteen, she found herself at Cheltenham Ladies’ College. Just like Robin, Chinese Hazel finds the food, traditions and uniform at Deepdean School for girls bizarre, hates the English weather and playing games in the rain and feels clumsily out of place.
To comfort herself at boarding school, Robin read voraciously, devouring Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle mysteries. It’s not surprising that superior, calculating Daisy – the self-styled leader of the detective duo – is based on Sherlock Holmes while self-effacing Hazel takes the role of Watson and narrates the stories.
As a teenager, Robin was struck by the impossibility of solving Agatha Christie crimes and tries to emulate this style in her own writing – a fact that may contribute to the wide appeal of her work. A great number of students already had books by Robin Stevens and are eagerly awaiting publication of the next one. Now they can put a face and a personality to the author!