Regrettably, Robin never got to do any detecting herself, however, she did continue to write crime fiction, creating the world of Murder Most Unladylike. For World Book Day, she’s sending her super-sleuthing character duo, Daisy and Hazel, off to the beach in The Case of the Drowned Pearl to uncover the murder of a famous swimmer.
It’s almost a decade on from when she first had the idea of Murder Most Unladylike – which won the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in the younger fiction category – and this summer Robin will be rounding off the MMU series with Daisy and Hazel’s most epic and dangerous case yet.
We grabbed Robin in between her busy schedule to speak about her favourite book, the best writing advice she’s ever been given, and which fictional character she’d spend the day with.
Diana Wynne Jones. Her books showed me for the first time how very real a made-up character could seem. I wanted to be friends with all of her protagonists when I was a child (and I still do), and her fantasy plots swept me up in the magic and other worlds. She’s my hero!
Being a children’s author! I have been telling stories since I could speak, and writing them down since I could write. I’ve always wanted to write the kind of stories that I loved as a child, which of course were children’s books. I feel so incredibly lucky that I’ve grown up to actually live my dream.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsberg (yes, that’s its full title). It’s about a girl who runs away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It’s a mystery, it’s an escape fantasy (who doesn’t want to leave their ordinary life behind to live in an interesting place?) and it’s a beautifully written story – every time I reread it, I love it more.
You can’t edit a blank page. It’s infuriatingly true.
High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson (yes, I cheated and chose a 2019 book, but 2020 has only just begun!). It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s mysterious and it’s wonderfully murderous. I loved it.
I started reading murder mysteries when I was 12 years old (Agatha Christie, of course) and I loved them – but I always wished there were more kids in them. Then I went to boarding school… and Murder Most Unladylike was born!
Lying in a hammock in the shade on a sunny summer day.
Chrestomanci, the magician from Diana Wynne Jones’ fantasy series. He can travel between worlds, so he’d take me to see dragons, mermaids and magic.
The way that my characters have moved from my own mind into the minds of my readers until they believe in them as clearly as I do. It feels a lot like magic.