I think it is an innovative concept and it captured the imagination of the students and staff. It was challenging, but enjoyable, a real team event and appealed to all year groups. Our students said, ‘ It was a lot of fun and really made me think.’ ‘A great house event that got everyone talking.’ ‘ Please can we have another next year.’
J.Webb, Librarian, Adams Grammar School, Newport
We were so excited to be able to use 'Murder by the Book' as part of our Alternative Curriculum Day. We were delighted with the whole concept and how well it worked; it will definitely be used again for our new year 7 intake. It’s a wonderful product.
J.Jex, Library Manager, Belvidere School, Shrewsbury
This was a great product that I used with a mixed ability KS4 group as a team-building activity. The students engaged with the task, finding the mystery both interesting and challenging. The activity helped to improve the communications skills of those involved, stimulating constructive conversations in order to apply and subsequently develop problem-solving skills. It was very engaging and interactive and is a great way of getting the students to think outside the box!
D.Dean, Progress Leader, Marches School, Oswestry
We used 'Murder by the Book' as the basis for a house competition. Throughout the course of a school day,
over 70 students visited the crime scene and each one was completely engaged in recording clues and trying to piece together what had happened.The activity generated intensive discussions between members of each house team and some very detailed written responses were produced. Overall, the students loved the event!
E.Owen, Head of House, Abraham Darby Academy
I can’t praise Murder by the Book enough! Our school used it as a KS3 competition over a 2-week period in our school Library. It was a brilliant complementary element of our Murder Mystery Month which culminated in a visit by teen crime author Kim Slater.
Every lunchtime our Library was buzzing with groups of pupils analysing clues, interviewing suspects and turning into very effective detectives. Their powers of deduction and logical thinking improved vastly over the course of the investigation. With all the marketing materials, clue cards and crime scene elements provided and ready to go the whole event was very easy to set up and looked really professional.
From an educational perspective we particularly liked the “stealth” method of integrating so many literacy elements into the competition without the pupils noticing that they were actually working hard while having all this fun.
We can’t wait for a new mystery to come out soon and will definitely be using it again.
A.Mattheus-Ratcliffe, Librarian, Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School
For World Book Day 2017, I organised a 'Murder by the Book' event for our Year 6 and it was brilliant! They absolutely loved the body outline and piecing together all of the clues. I then passed all of their clue hunting information to the English Department to work with them in writing up their solution. I am now awaiting some beautifully presented work with the correct solution. I thought the whole concept was great!
J.Morton, Librarian, Beeston Hall School, West Runton
We set up ‘Murder By The Book’ as a voluntary activity over the week of World Book Day. The teams who participated were in and out of the library during breaks and lunchtime, engaging in lively debate, whispering their theories to each other and generally having a laugh. They were all learning; using observational and organisational skills and the teams that did best also presented good written reports. I am hopeful that there will be a new challenge coming soon. I would like to make it compulsory as, when asked if they had had fun taking part, the answer from all teams was a resounding “Yes!”.
S.Day, Librarian, Leweston School
'Murder by the Book' has been a brilliant resource that has been both easy to use and flexible enough to adapt to our needs. We used the materials to hold an extended whole school murder mystery event with weekly clues. The students have been really excited by the event and keen to get involved and help solve who dunnit!
C.Pearson, Librarian, Neston High School, Neston
‘Murder by the Book’ is a fun and challenging activity that had our students working excitedly, collaboratively and competitively toward a solution in their small teams. The props and set up in the library certainly added to the atmosphere.
R.McNamara, Head of Senior School,
The Hutchins School, Tasmania, Australia
'Murder by the Book' was a fantastic hit in our school! Our department chose to use the product with a group of high ability Year 9 students, as an end of year reward. The product is very well designed and easy to set up. The event took place in our school library, which was sealed off with crime scene tape. The students really enjoyed trying to solve the murder and there was a brilliant buzz around the school for the day. We loved the resource so much, we have now purchased 'The Mystery of the Golden Pen'.
K.Burke, English Teacher, The Catholic High School, Chester
‘Murder by the Book’ worked incredibly well for us! We ran it as a whole school competition over 3 days and about 150 students were involved. It was lovely to see the girls so engrossed – even the students who are normally disengaged in their class library visits. In every class that took part, every student was engaged with it. The English teachers loved hearing the discussions and seeing how focused the girls were. It got them all thinking, talking and working together. We are looking forward to running ‘The Mystery of the Golden Pen’ next year.
A.Fahey, Librarian, Villa Maria College, New Zealand
‘Murder by the Book’ was really easy to set up, and thoroughly enjoyed by staff and students. It was used to complement the study of Sherlock Holmes literature by year 8 students, all of whom completed the pre-event quiz in preparation. Each class spent a lesson in the Library and all were committed to reading the clues and trying to work out the motive, the hows and why nots. They shared their thoughts at the end of the lesson, but the ‘big reveal’ was given in assembly (this caused great excitement). It was something different and something memorable; we are definitely planning to play it again.
C.Fanning, Librarian, Bishop Challoner Catholic College, Birmingham
Question: what do you do if you're a librarian trying to help locked down students develop their critical thinking skills? Answer: set them to work on the online-friendly edition of 'Murder by the Book'. I ran it for classes of Year 7 and Year 8 boys across three lessons spread over a six week half-term. Students worked either individually or in groups (meeting via Zoom). They loved the premise and the process of "crime-solving', while their "crime scene investigation" notes and their discussions with me revealed a high level of engagement and serious critical thinking. 'Murder by the Book' is a critical thinking exercise - and lockdown lifesaver - that all secondary-school librarians, teachers and students can enjoy and benefit from. I'll be buying the other two Box Clever puzzles for next year's students.
Dr Graham Gardner, Librarian, Abingdon School