Title: In the Study with the Wrench
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Romance, Retelling
Summary: In the aftermath of Headmaster Boddy’s murder, Blackbrook Academy has been thrown into complete disarray. Half the student body hasn’t bothered to return to campus—but those who have include Orchid, Vaughn, Scarlett, Peacock, Plum, and Mustard, now warily referred to by the other students as the Murder Crew. When another staff member is found dead and an anonymous threat begins to target the group, each of the teens’ opportunistic reasons for sticking around come to light. Orchid’s identity comes under question while Vaughn’s family life takes a turn; Finn and Mustard grow closer; and Scarlett and Beth struggle to turn over new leaves. All of this comes to a dramatic head at Tudor House with a cliff-hanger…
Oh no! This review is for the sequel to In the Hall with the Knife, so if you have not read the first book yet, tread carefully. You can read my review of In the Hall with the Knife here!
I pleasantly enjoyed this sequel and surprisingly enjoyed the sequel more than the first book. I’m a huge fan of anything related to Clue, and I loved the direction this story took. In the Study with the Wrench starts off a few weeks after the ending of the first book. Now known as the Murder Crew, the survivors of the events that took place in the first book try to live normal lives after school starts again. But eventually the past catches up to each character and secrets that should have stayed buried are brought to light. Secrets that, of course, lead to another murder. In the Study with the Wrench is a sequel filled with murder, drama, and a dash of romance, and it’s a book that will leave you needing the next installment.
In the Study with the Wrench keeps the Clue retelling going strong and I was living for it all. What was great was that the story naturally flowed together and was constantly developing. It took a direction that presented new conflicts and new twists, but kept true to the characters’ nature and behaviors and kept the readers engaged. There were instances where I thought I knew the direction the story was heading in but then it would take a completely different turn, which was a great surprise. Because of the constantly moving plot and wonderful character dynamics, I had a hard time putting this book down.
Whereas the first book introduced the readers to each of the main characters and extensive character development, the second book provided more plot than character development, which I enjoyed. (*hint, hint*) If you look closely in the first book, you may be able to identify a key foreshadowing for book two. One of the reasons I enjoyed this book more than the first was that each character’s unique voice stayed true to each character. As the reader, I was given the opportunity to further learn more about the characters and become more attached to them. I loved the new side characters and the fun banter between the Murder Crew; it created wonderful dialogue that kept me engaged.
And, of course, the sprinkle of romance in the second book is exactly what I was looking for. The first book set the stage for a romance between two main characters, and I was excited to see that finally unfold bit by bit. It’s enough romance that doesn’t overpower the plot but adds a bit of complexity, especially when one secret threatens to ruin this budding romance. I definitely ship these two characters and I hope to see more of that romance in the next book.
When it comes to the writing, I can tell Peterfreund truly cares about the Clue series with how much love and technique she’s poured into this story. Peterfreund articulates the Clue series so well and wonderfully captures the essence of the Clue game and characters. Plus, I was here for all the pun names, which definitely adds a bit more of fun to the story. Her writing brings the characters to life in a captivating (yet murderous) way that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Overall, with how In the Study with the Wrench ended, I’m eagerly awaiting the third installment in this series. It’s one of those endings that leaves you questioning what really happened and hoping for the best. If you’re a fan of the Clue board game and/or movie, I definitely recommend this series! And if you’re a fan of light mysteries with wonderful character development, then In the Hall with the Knife is a great book to check out!
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars