First Lines Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

The dark shape of Highbury House was getting closer and closer. Justice told herself that she knew the place now – its turrets and spooky ramparts no longer had the power to scare her. But the school was a daunting sight in the twilight, looming up out of the flat marshland, birds – or possibly bats – circling the four towers.

Any ideas?

I loved Justice’s first murder mystery, and am really looking forward to delving into her next case.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Justice Jones, super-smart super-sleuth, is back for her second spine-tingling adventure! For fans of Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine and Enid Blyton.

When Justice returns for spring term at Highbury House, it’s not long before murder is back on her mind. Assigned to look after the elderly Mr Arthur in Smugglers’ Lodge on the other side of the marshes from school, Justice is initially dismayed. But dismay quickly gives way to intrigue as she finds herself drawn to Mr Arthur and his stories of piloting in the First World War – and especially when Dorothy, who lives nearby, tells her that the lodge is haunted.

But when Mr Arthur dies in mysterious circumstances, Justice soon has a list of questions in her journal: why hasn’t he been given a proper military funeral? Why does the new Matron not seem to know much about First Aid? And what secrets does Smugglers’ Lodge really hold?

Justice sets out to uncover the deadly truth in this brilliant follow-up to A Girl Called Justice.

Did you guess the book? Have you read this or A Girl Called Justice?

A Girl Called Justice

Take a handful of hidden notes, a dash of secret meetings, a light dusting of deaths and kidnappings, and a sprinkling of clues at just the right moments and you have the perfect ingredients for this arresting mystery.

I really enjoyed this action-packed story which has a perfect blend of tension and intrigue throughout.  Justice Jones has been sent to Highbury House Boarding School for the Daughters of Gentlefolk, where she soon suspects a crime has been committed.  Not surprising as she is the daughter of a criminal barrister, and her recently deceased mother was a crime writer. 

Justice is a curious, clever, determined super-sleuth who is intent on solving the mystery of the murdered maid which leads to her tenaciously following her suspicions … and uncovering hidden secrets.

As Justice, who has been home-schooled, settles in to boarding school life, she forms some wonderful friendships, and comes to rely on these friends to help catch the criminal which, of course, leads to dangerous situations for them all.

The setting for this story is perfect:  an isolated Gothic mansion on the edge of a marsh with its own haunted tower, basements, attics and creaky staircases.  This really helps with tension-building, especially when they are cut off by a snowstorm with no apparent form of communication with the outside world.

I would highly recommend this to any 9+ fans of detective stories.

Thank you to NetGalley and Quercus Children’s Books for an e-ARC of this book.