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The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie

Written by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Motive
Bindy Mackenzie is the most perfect girl at Ashbury High. She scores in the 99.9th percentile in all her classes. She holds lunchtime advisory sessions for her fellow students. She keeps careful transcripts of everything said around her. And she has been Kmart casual Employee of the Month for seventeen months straight.

No wonder somebody wants to kill her.

The Suspects
Bindy is horrified to learn she must take part in the Friendship And Development Project - a new class meant to provide a "life raft" through "the tricky seas of adolescence." Bindy can't see how airheaded Emily Thompson, absentminded Elizabeth Clarry, mouthy Toby Mazzerati, malicious Astrid Bexonville, silent Briony Atkins, narcissistic Sergio Saba and handsome, enigmatic Finnegon Blonde could ever possibly help her.

(Well, maybe Finnegan could.)

The Crime
But then Bindy's perfect life begins to fall apart. She develops an obsession with the word "Cincinnati." She can't stop feeling sleepy. She fails an exam for the first time ever. And - worst of all - she just doesn't care.

What could be the cause of all these strange events? Is it conspiracy? Is it madness? Is it... murder?

The Truth
Lots of people hate Bindy Mackenzie - but who would actually kill her? The answer is in Bindy's transcripts. The detectives are the members of her FAD group. But Bindy has made every one of them into an enemy... and time is running out.

CBC Choices 2007

"Told in emails, transcripts, memos and other musings, Bindy records the eventful start of Year 11 at Ashbury, an Australian private school Moriarty has portrayed in her previous work. Bindy is an overachiever who thinks her classmates, teachers and even the School Board are desperately in need of her input. The FAD (“Friendship and Development”) group, a new class taught by Try Montaine, really needs her help. Bindy’s hair, worn in two long braids rolled on the sides of her head, becomes symbolic of her rigid, uncool, uptight existence. The murder of Bindy seems impossible, as she is the main character, and Bindy is unaware of her ability to cause enmity with that level of vitriol, being more comfy with just being irritating. Yet upon becoming aware of her own failings, she’s equally committed to atoning completely. Bindy’s unreliable narration provides most of the humor and suspense, hitting all the typical buttons Moriarty fans have come to expect, including a strange family life and an over-the-top dénouement. As memorably unique as Bindy herself." - Kirkus Reviews

"Moriarty follows The Year of Secret Assignments with another uproarious novel written entirely in diary entries, school assignments, transcripts, and other inventive formats. Once again the setting is Ashbury High, in Sydney, Australia, and Bindy MacKenzie, who had a pivotal cameo in Assignments, returns as the central character. Brilliant, precocious Bindy ("I've been struggling a bit with Ulysses by James Joyce," she wrote in her diary as a ten-year-old) is frustrated when her gestures of kindness towards fellow students go unappreciated. Her aggressive resistance to a new required course, Friendship and Development, sharply alienates a group of her fellow classmates, whom she nicknames the Venomous Six. But as she gradually gains self-awareness, it's these students, along with dreamy transfer student Finnegan, who embrace, support and even save her. An additional crime plot is absurdly, gleefully flimsy and preposterous. It's the wild balancing act of shifting formats; the truths about family, school and social pressures; and Bindy's unforgettable, earnest hilariously high-strung voice that will capture and hold eager readers." - Booklist

This companion to Feeling Sorry for Celia and The Year of Secret Assignments is set in the same Australian high school and focuses on yet another of its students. Fans may remember Bindy Mackenzie as the fast typist who transcribed the school hearing in Secret Assignments; the top student whose eccentricities have left her with few friends. As in that book, the story here is told entirely through diaries, memos, e-mail, and letters. Bindy's voice, both written and spoken, is old-fashioned and melodramatic - and very funny. Well-meaning and sincere, Bindy is hopelessly clueless about how pompous she sounds and how many enemies she's made. Eventually it becomes clear that Bindy is in deep trouble: her habit of listening in on and transcribing people's conversations has apparently angered someone, enough to make her an attempted murder victim. While completely over-the-top, the murder mystery will have readers going back to hunt for clues they missed. Fans of the first two books will be eager to visit Ashbury High and its intrigues again, and to find out just what makes brainy Bindy tick. - Horn Book Magazine 

Purchase Options
Indiebound • Scholastic Store • Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Fall 2006
Young Adult Fiction
ISBN: 0-439-74051-7
Price: $16.99/$22.99
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Page Count: 496
Foreign Rights: Anderson Grinberg Literary Management, Inc.
Translation Rights: Anderson Grinberg Literary Management, Inc.
Rights Available? yes

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