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How To Solve Your Own Murder

Kristen Perrin pens an intriguing start to a new mystery series.



1965, Frances is told by a fortune teller at a county fair that she will be murdered, and Frances spends her life trying to figure out by whom. Present day, and aspiring writer Annie is called to a meeting with her great-aunt, Frances, and her solicitor. But Frances is found dead before the meeting. Her will stipulates that any relative who can solve her murder in a week will inherit, but if law enforcement succeeds first, all will be sold off. Annie decides to pick up the investigation and looks for clues Frances herself left behind, starting with her diary.


Set in the UK and told from both Annie's POV and Frances's diary entries, this whodunnit had a charming, classic mystery feel. This was a complex puzzle, with a large cast of suspicious characters, a few red herrings, and a surprise or two along the way. Many characters appear in both timelines, and their relationships and possible motives are revealed gradually. Hence, the reader needs to concentrate in order to sleuth alongside Annie and try to unravel the many threads. The number of characters was not easy to track at first. It took me about a third of the book before I felt I had a grasp on everyone. However, I was pleased to have been surprised at the reveal! I also enjoyed Annie's character, Frances's flashbacks, the slightly creepy manor house setting, the unique premise, and the book's overall atmosphere.


Although this has a cozy feel, I think it lands somewhere between cozy and classic mystery. It reminded me a bit of a Midsomer Murders episode or a British crime series on PBS. I recommend this to those who love a British mystery and enjoy examining lots of clues and solving puzzles. It is a promising start to a new series, and I would be interested to see where the author takes things from here. And I love the cover!


Thank you to Penguin Group Dutton for the gifted eARC.


My steep was Fortnum & Mason Black Tea with Strawberry. As I am in the U.S. I usually source this British tea from Williams Sonoma



PUBLISHER'S SYNOPSIS:


For fans of Knives Out and The Thursday Murder Club, an enormously fun mystery about a woman who spends her entire life trying to prevent her foretold murder only to be proven right sixty years later, when she is found dead in her sprawling country estate.... Now it's up to her great-niece to catch the killer.


It’s 1965 and teenage Frances Adams is at an English country fair with her two best friends. But Frances’s night takes a hairpin turn when a fortune-teller makes a bone-chilling prediction: One day, Frances will be murdered. Frances spends a lifetime trying to solve a crime that hasn’t happened yet, compiling dirt on every person who crosses her path in an effort to prevent her own demise. For decades, no one takes Frances seriously, until nearly sixty years later, when Frances is found murdered, like she always said she would be.


 In the present day, Annie Adams has been summoned to a meeting at the sprawling country estate of her wealthy and reclusive great-aunt Frances. But by the time Annie arrives in the quaint English village of Castle Knoll, Frances is already dead. Annie is determined to catch the killer, but thanks to Frances’s lifelong habit of digging up secrets and lies, it seems every endearing and eccentric villager might just have a motive for her murder. Can Annie safely unravel the dark mystery at the heart of Castle Knoll, or will dredging up the past throw her into the path of a killer?


 As Annie gets closer to the truth, and closer to the danger, she starts to fear she might inherit her aunt’s fate instead of her fortune.



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