A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Unlike a typical whodunnit, which opens with a fresh kill before following the investigating party as they trace the breadcrumbs to reveal who dealt the fatal hand, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder takes a slightly different approach.


The six-part BBC series, which is based on Holly Jackson's hugely popular book of the same name, focuses on a case that was solved five years ago – or so the police and the people of the fictional town of Little Kilton believe.

17-year-old Andie Bell (India Lillie Davies) was supposedly murdered by her boyfriend Sal Singh (Rahul Pattni), who openly confessed to the crime before taking his own life. But Pip Fitz-Amobi (Emma Myers), who was a few years younger than the victim and her executioner when it happened, firmly believes Sal is innocent – and that the real killer is still out there, which sparks an idea: the subject of her Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which counts towards her A-Level results, will not be gothic literature, as she first proposed, but Andie Bell.

With Sal's brother Ravi (Zain Iqbal) working alongside her as the Watson to her Holmes – although he would argue it's the other way around – she decides to unearth what really happened to the schoolgirl half a decade ago.

Ravi and Pip sat in the open boot of a car, looking at a piece of paper
Zain Iqbal as Ravi and Emma Myers as Pip. Moonage Pictures/Sally Mais

It's a simple premise, but it's executed beautifully, in large part due to Dolly Wells's first-rate direction. As someone who also writes and acts, her comprehensive understanding of the many different parts that come together to create a production and how to capture them are flexed to full effect.

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Wells looked to Twin Peaks and Lord of the Flies as sources of inspiration, but Agatha Christie immediately springs to mind. The author's knack for taking the English idyll and peeling back the curtain to reveal its vicious underbelly works exceedingly well here in the quaint, picturesque Little Kilton.

The setting, which has a real sense of time and place, is familiar and cosy, yet mysterious and threatening, lending the show an off-kilter, discombobulating feel that marries with Pip's emotional state as the case begins to bear down on her.

Wells also spoke about the importance of the woods which surround Little Kilton, again siting in that dual, conflicted space of beautiful yet sinister. Black ribbons hang from the trees; stray too far from the path and who knows what, or who, you might encounter.

Pip and her family searching for something in the woods
Gary Beadle as Victor, Anna Maxwell Martin as Leanne, Kamari Loyd as Josh and Emma Myers as Pip. Moonage Pictures/Sally Mais

The cast, largely led by newcomers and up-and-coming talent, also bring a lot to the table.

Myers, best known for Netflix's Wednesday, showcases her range by delivering a very different performance here. Pip, so often wrapped up in her own thoughts, is more pared back than Enid, but without losing any of the intensity required for this role. The pacing throughout is propulsive and Myers, who is particularly convincing in moments of danger, seamlessly matches that as the protagonist employs her mettle and mind to uncover Andie's killer.

Pip and Ravi's growing chemistry as they hurtle towards the truth is also incredibly sweet, and again taps into AGGGTM's fascination with duality. Ravi and his family became the subject of widespread abuse and shunning from the local town after the blame was laid with Sal, but out of that monstrous, desperately sad episode, something beautiful is now flourishing.

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Asha Banks (Rebel Cheer Squad), who stars as Pip's best friend Cara, is also impressive. There's a real authenticity and openness to her delivery that rings out, particularly in the quieter moments between the pair. And Gary Beadle (EastEnders), who plays Pip's step-father Victor, and is one of a handful of the show's screen veterans, delivers fleeting moments of comedy that feel instinctual and help release the pressure valve, if only momentarily.

The inclusion of characters such as Victor, Pip's younger brother Josh and the Singh brothers also gives the dialogue space to touch upon the subject of race. In a town which is majority white, it would have been remiss to make no mention of it at all, but while AGGGTM is direct in its approach, those moments, which are few and far between, are baked seamlessly into the script and approached with a comedic flourish.

Mentions of Müller Light and Love Island are also small, inconsequential details that help flesh out the world and give AGGGTMN a distinctly English feel.

Pip and her friends walking in a line through the village where she lives
Asha Banks as Cara, Emma Myers as Pip, Yali Topol Margalith as Lauren, Raiko Gahara as Zach and Jude Morgan-Collie as Connor. Moonage Pictures/Joss Barratt

While young adults are absolutely AGGGTM's core audience, the series proved to be a moreish and sophisticated offering for this reluctant 32-year-old (*sobs*), containing flashes of old school detective dramas while very much sitting in the here and now.

With suspects aplenty, those who haven't read the books will be kept theorising throughout – although some viewers, myself included, might cotton to a key reveal long before the curtain is pulled back.

The fact that a 17-year-old and a 20-year-old are able to do what the police failed to also requires you to suspend your disbelief. But whether you're a fan of the book or venturing into the world of AGGGTM for the very first time, this is a killer series that will almost certainly return for future seasons.

All episodes of A Good Girl's Guide To Murder will arrive on BBC iPlayer on Monday 1 July, and will air on BBC Three later that month.


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