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Murder By Invitation Only

Colleen Cambridge's third book in the Phyllida Bright historical mysteries is a fun whodunnit!

Phyllida is a former Army nurse and friend/housekeeper of Agatha Christie, who keeps Agatha's country home running smoothly. Agatha is invited to a murder mystery party at a nearby house, but she is traveling and unable to attend. She sends Phyllida, who also assists the overwhelmed housekeeper there. But when the man acting the part of the victim is actually murdered, Phyllida takes charge of the investigation.

I'm a fan of Cambridge's writing style and her clever and imaginative historical mysteries, and love that this one features Agatha Christie. Agatha is a minor character in the stories, but several Christie easter eggs are sprinkled throughout for fans to enjoy along with the mystery.

This was a clever and solidly plotted mystery with lots of red herrings and plenty of suspects. And Phyllida is fun to sleuth along with. She's intelligent, capable, and resourceful, and I love her dialogue and interactions with other members of the household, especially the chauffeur. The world-building brings fun historical detail and transports you to a 1930s English country house. This series has quickly become one of my favorites! I've been thoroughly delighted with every installment, and I can't wait to see where the author takes Phyllida next. Mystery (and Christie) fans will want to add this to their Fall tbr--it makes for a charming and very cozy read!

Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to review this ARC. I loved it!

My steep was Mariage Freres Crepe Earl Grey, a black tea version of Crepes Suzette with bergamot, vanilla, and candied citrus.


In this engaging historical mystery, Agatha Christie's ever-capable housekeeper, Phyllida Bright, not only keeps the celebrated author's English country home in tip-top shape, she excels as an amateur sleuth. But when a murder-themed game goes awry, can she outfox the guilty party?

"A murder will occur tonight at Beecham House . . ." Who could resist such a compelling invitation? Of course, the murder in question purports to be a party game, and Phyllida looks forward to using some of the deductive skills she has acquired thanks to her employer, Mrs. Agatha, who is unable to attend in person.

The hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Wokesley, are new to the area, and Phyllida gladly offers their own overwhelmed housekeeper some guidance while events get underway. Family friends have been enlisted to play the suspects, and Mr. Wokesley excels in his role of dead body. Unfortunately, when the game's solution is about to be unveiled, the participants discover that life has imitated art. Mr. Wokesley really is dead!

In the absence of Inspector Cork, Phyllida takes temporary charge of the investigation, guiding the local constable through interviews with the Murder Game actors. At first, there seems no motive to want Mr. Wokesley dead . . . but then Phyllida begins to connect each of the suspects with the roles they played and the motives assigned to them. It soon becomes clear that everyone had a reason to murder their host—both in the game and in real life. Before long, Phyllida is embroiled in a fiendishly puzzling case, with a killer who refuses to play by the rules . . .

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