4 out of 5 Stars
Thank you to Jill at Books N All Promotions for having me on the tour!
A GOLDEN AGE COUNTRY HOUSE MURDER MYSTERY BROUGHT BANG UP TO DATE
A faded country house in the middle of nowhere.
The guests are snowed in.
The murders begin.
Ursula Smart (not her real name) gate-crashes her mother’s book club at an isolated country house for a long weekend retreat. Joining them are Mother’s best friend, Mirabelle, Aunts Charlotte and Less, and Bridget with her dog Mr Bojangles. It doesn’t matter that they’ve read Gone Girl three times this year already. But someone has other ideas.
A body is found in the grounds.
Is a lone killer hunting them? Or has one of their own group embarked on a killing spree?
What they need is a guide to survive.
Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Anthony Horowitz, Liane Moriarty, Faith Martin, Frances Lloyd and Stuart Turton.
“Rule 1: Never stay in an isolated country house with a disparate group of possible sociopaths… or a book club.”
What a fun twist on your typical “stuck in a house in the boonies” style murder mystery! This novel was like “And Then There were None” met a hilariously dis-functional Brit Com. The characters were the type you hate to love, and love to hate.
Let’s start with our narrator, Ursula Smart. Forced to join her mother at this “book club” because of an “incident”, she can be summed up in one sentence,
“That, and the fact that we’re not really called Ursula and Pandora Smart. Those are the pseudonyms that I chose for us. My real name is another misdemeanor I set firmly at my mother’s door.”
….So, you CHOSE Ursula as your pseudonym? Well, that already makes me wonder about her… I kid, though. Ursula was interesting because she really only gave you a very vague sense of her character and background, while spilling everything about everyone else.
These women were always butting heads. Five strong willed women stuck in a country mansion with no escape from each other. But, they have many words of wisdom throughout trying to solve these murders,
“As with most book clubs, the first rule of book club was you do not talk about the book.”
“Bravery is better with booze.”
The scattered, frantic way each tried to solve these murders reminded me of the movie version of Clue
The antics had twists and turns that will keep you on your toes! If you think that you’ve figured everything out? YOU PROBABLY HAVEN’T! It would have received five stars if the ending hadn’t fallen a little bit flat. Not the solution to the mystery. I loved how everything worked out! But, the delivery of the solution, and the conclusion of the book just felt a little “……and then it was done.” Which left me just, OH SO SLIGHTLY, disappointed. Other than that, it was a fantastic book for mystery fans who want some really fun and flamboyant characters with some SERIOUS personality (and, I don’t mean that in a “Walter Cronkite reading the news” kind of way, I mean that in a “sausage tube jam packed with personality” kind of way!), a few laughs, and a little gore.
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After graduating from Cambridge, Victoria was a criminal law barrister on the London circuit for many years, where many of her cases were much stranger than fiction.
Victoria is now an award winning writer, having won the Go Gothic Short Story Award for 2019. She has had short fiction published in places such as Aesthetica: A Review of Contemporary Artists and was chosen as the runner up in The New Writer’s writer of the year award. Her work was Highly Commended by The Writers’ Forum and long-listed for The Willesden Herald International Short Story Competition. She has had short stories published in the BTS Literary and Arts Annual, Dream Catcher arts journal and Gold Dust Literary Magazine.
Victoria lives with her husband and two children. She writes full time, splitting her time between London and Devon, where she can indulge her passion for all things Agatha Christie.
The Smart Woman’s Guide to Murder is Best Served with a Fortune Teller Cocktail
I found this one courtesy of the Food Network!
- 1 white sugar cube
- 1 ripe strawberry, stem removed
- 2 black peppercorns
- 1 3/4 ounces gin
- 1/2 ounce Pomegranate, Tawny Port and Balsamic Reduction, recipe follows
- 1/2 ounce vermouth (recommended: Dolin Blanc)
- Cracked ice, for shaking
- 2 blue cheese stuffed olives, for garnish
Pomegranate, Tawny Port and Balsamic Reduction:
- 8 ounces 10 year tawny port
- 4 ounces pomegranate juice
- 4 ounces balsamic vinegar
Directions for Reduction
- Pour the tawny port, pomegranate juice and balsamic vinegar into a small skillet on medium heat until reduced by little less than half.
- Take off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before incorporating into a cocktail.
Directions for Cocktail
- In a metal cocktail shaker, muddle the sugar cube, strawberry and peppercorns well. Be sure to crack the peppercorns.
- Add the gin, Pomegranate, Tawny Port and Balsamic Reduction, vermouth and cracked ice into the shaker.
- Top, seal and shake vigorously.
- Double strain up into a chilled martini glass.
- Garnish with the olives on a bar toothpick.