February is the month of love, right? But guess what I did instead of cozying up with a romantic book? I dove into a murder mystery! Do I regret it? Nope! Kristen Perrin’s debut novel “How to Solve Your Own Murder,” turned out to be an enjoyable read.
Annie Adams, a London-based writer, receives a letter from her great aunt Frances Adams’s solicitor, requesting her presence at Castle Knoll. Annie is keen on meeting Frances, but oops, she is a little late to arrive. Instead of Frances, it is her dead body that welcomes Annie. Back in 1965, a fortune teller had predicted that Frances would be murdered. And now, decades later, the prophecy has come true.
Because of Frances’s last will, Annie is at the heart of it all. She could inherit a fortune, but there’s a catch–she has to crack the case of Frances’s murder. For 60 years, Frances spied on people and maintained files on them, hoping to find the person who might murder her. Annie stumbles upon Frances’s journal and it brings her closer to the aunt she has never known.
The story jumps between present-day mystery-solving and Frances’s 1965 past. While the present involves solving the murder mystery, the clues are to be found in the past.
The setting is quite visual, and both timelines have their distinct and authentic flavour. Perrin has paid meticulous attention to describing the places, clothes, and lifestyle.
Frances’s character sketch is quite inspiring and memorable, but there are a bunch of other characters–may be a bit too many, and a few hardly add any value to the story.
The pacing is a little slow, and the length could use a trim. The story lingers without much progress at times. There are a few twists and turns in the narration, but I would have preferred a few more red herrings.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by two different narrators. While they have done a fairly reasonable job, I think I would have enjoyed reading it more.
This is the first book in the Castle Knoll Files series, and I am eagerly waiting for the next one. I am curious to see what unfolds next!
Unlike other murder mysteries, How to Solve Your Own Murder is low on action, gore, and drama. The mystery, investigation, and revelation have a light tone, and it makes the reading more entertaining. It’s a light mystery; if that’s even a thing!
Wordsopedia Rating 3.5/5
|Title: How to Solve Your Own Murder
|Author: Kristen Perrin
|Publication date: March 26, 2024
|No. of Hours: 11 hours 41 minutes
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About the author
Kristen Perrin is originally from Seattle, Washington, where she spent several years working as a bookseller before moving to the UK to do a master’s and PhD. She lives with her family in Surrey, where she can be found poking around vintage bookstores, stomping in the mud with her two kids, and collecting too many plants. Her middle-grade series, Attie and the World Breakers, was published in German, Dutch, and Polish. How to Solve Your Own Murder is her adult debut.