From Publishers Weekly
At the start of Cannell's meandering 13th Ellie Haskell mystery (after 2007's Withering Heights
), Ellie's dear friend Dorcas Critchley, the games mistress at St. Roberta's boarding school, asks the amateur sleuth to investigate the theft of the Loverly Cup, a trophy awarded annually by Lady Loverly of the Hall at Upper Swan-Upping to the winner of the area schools' lacrosse championship match. A former inmate of St. Roberta's, Ellie returns to campus, where she's forced to rub shoulders with old classmates she would rather avoid. The suspicious death of Marilyn Chips, a retired coach whose skills enabled the school to retain the trophy for many years, makes the loss of the Loverly Cup, if not irrelevant, certainly less important. Ellie and her housekeeper, Mrs. Malloy, enchant as always, though the student characters, in particular Ellie's precocious detecting pal, 14-year-old Ariel Hopkins, may strike some readers as too adult. Witty dialogue helps offset the slow pacing of this alternately funny and stodgy cozy. (Apr.)
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In her twelfth adventure, Ellie Haskell leaves her family at Merlin’s Court to travel to her old boarding school, St. Roberta’s, at the request of her former headmistress, Mrs. Battle. Someone has stolen the Loverly Cup from St. Roberta’s trophy case. The cup is awarded to the winner of the lacrosse championship match, and for the first time in nine years, St. Roberta’s has lost the cup and needs to pass it along to the winning school. Ellie returns to St. Roberta’s, without her trusty housekeeper and sleuthing partner, Mrs. Malloy, on the pretext of needing some rest. She investigates staff, students, and some former graduates of the school while trying to come to terms with her guilt over her past failure to speak for a fellow student who was wrongly expelled. During the investigation, a beloved teacher, Ms. Chips, dies. Is it an accident, or is it murder? This humorous cozy is filled with sympathetic characters and an inside look at an English boarding school. --Sue O'Brien