Robin Stevens Talk

Guild member Robin Stevens (2006, Bellairs) and multi-award-winning author returned to College recently, and her presence caused quite a stir! Senior pupils, who noticed her arrival, excitedly recalled the time she visited when they were in Lower College, and Lower College and visiting primary school pupils were equally enthusiastic – she is rather marvellous! What is particularly exciting for CLC students is that the fictitious school, ‘Deepdean’ that is central to the Murder Most Unladylike series, is clearly influenced by Robin’s experience of CLC and her impression of the College estate.

Robin was born in California and grew up in an Oxford college, across the road from the house where the child who inspired Alice in Wonderland lived. Robin said that when she was 12 years old, her father handed her a copy of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and she realised that she wanted to be either Hercule Poirot or Agatha Christie when she grew up.

She spent her teenage years at Cheltenham Ladies’ College (2001-2006, Bellairs and Elizabeth). During that time, she read many murder mysteries, hoping that she’d get the chance to do some detecting herself. Though she didn’t, she went to university, where she studied crime fiction and then worked at a children’s book publisher. Before long, Robin emerged as a very adept author of the bestselling Murder Most Unladylike series where Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are the stars. Those of us who know CLC will pick up on much that is familiar in the context of the book – with the exception of the murders of course!

Students were buzzing as Robin recounted some of her experiences at CLC. She also gave them some great tips about writing an exciting story, and the audience was clearly inspired by what she had to say. It was brilliant to hear about Robin’s latest book The Ministry of Unladylike Activity published on 29th September. In this series, May Wong returns, along with some new friends, to solve some mysteries in 1940 when Britain is at war…

It is always a joy to have Robin back at CLC – after her visit she sent some photos and said: "Thank you for a wonderful day! I felt so welcome and it was amazing to see so many Coll girls loving my books! Here is a photo of me in Sixth Form doing a tour of the ‘lesser seen parts of the school’. I think my friends and I won a competition – this photo shows me coming out of one of the under-floor tunnel spaces…"

It’s a jolly good thing that Robin Stevens won that competition to explore the lesser seen parts of the school – the experience no doubt contributed to some of the fascinating aspects of the brilliant Murder Most Unladylike stories!