Murder most horrid – Writers’ Camp

Recently Mt St Michael’s held their annual Writers’ camp with the theme of murder mysteries. The camp was entitled “The Moral Code” and the girls spent many weeks beforehand, creating characters and a back story, as well as props, so that it would be an immersive experience in which to write. Given this, we thought it would be appropriate to explore the genre of murder mysteries in this blog post.

We’re all familiar with classic writers like Agatha Christie who is enjoying a revival with Crooked House and Murder on the Orient Express recently being shown in cinemas, but who is her modern equivalent in Y A fiction, and what has become of the plucky female detectives like Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew?

The good news is the female detective is alive and well in Y A fiction and we do not have to look far to find her. Some of them have even managed to make it onto the small screen, like 1920’s flapper, Phryne Fisher, who was created by Kerry Greenwood. Others, like Nancy Drew, have been given a reboot .

In our library, the following series featuring a female detective are popular:

Series Author
Black cats and butlers Janine Beacham
Every series Elie Marney
Friday Barnes R A Spratt
The Phryne Fisher series Kerry Greenwood
Kinsey Millhone mysteries Sue Grafton
Nancy Drew Carolyn Keene
The Number 1 Ladies detective agency Alexander McCall Smith
Ruby Redfort Lauren Child
Verity Sparks Susan Green
Veronica Mars Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
The Wells and Wong mysteries Robin Stevens

Coming soon, our latest female detective is Mattie Cobb who is a K-9 detective operating with her dog Robo. This series was written by Margaret Mizushima and will be available in Senior Fiction.


Magic and Mayhem in the Maze – Library and Information Week

May 21 – 25 was Library and Information Week and the theme was “Find yourself in a library.” The promoters of this event, (ALIA – Australian Library and Information Association) used a picture of a maze in their art work which inspired us to create various maze-related activities for our students in the MSM Library.


We drew a map and created a treasure hunt with quotes from The maze runner scattered throughout the library. The maze runner is a popular dystopian novel that has since been produced as a movie. It is a little like Lord of the flies, with the characters having to prove themselves fit, physically and mentally, by escaping a maze. The characters don’t initially know the reason for their predicament.

We also played the film the Labyrinth. Many people believe that this movie was based on a book because Sarah carries a red book during the film. There is indeed prodigious talent behind it through the writing of Terry Jones from Monty Python, David Bowie’s songs and Jim Henson’s puppetry, combined with George Lucas and Brian Froud’s artistic vision. A book was written after the film was released by A. C. H. Smith who gave us the Dark Crystal. Possibly because this was already a world he was familiar with, Smith’s writing is better than most movie to book adaptions.

The Labyrinth itself follows the journey of Sarah, a young girl who is resentful about having to care for her baby brother and accidentally gives him away to the goblins. Her journey through the labyrinth is a quest to get him back. On the bookshelves in Sarah’s room we see the following titles as the camera pans past:

Outside, over there by Maurice Sendak

The Wizard of Oz by Frank L Baum

Grimm’s fairy tales

Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales

Alice through the looking glass by Lewis Carroll


Perhaps all of these were inspirations for the film in one way or another!