Three Sisters by Helen Smith is ostensibly a mystery, but the mystery aspect was the weak point in my opinion. The story centers on Emily Castles on bonfire night. She has been invited to a party in the big house at the end of her street by the new owners, whom she has never met, and turns out to be a rather grand, and bizarre, party. There are an eccentric group of performers, stilt-walkers, and knife-throwers, and Emily and her “regular” neighbors. Emily is a rather emotional, still grieving over the loss of her dog, who she talks about and thinks a lot, so much so that one of the other characters, Joe, the man she is attracted to, comments on it. During the party one of the knife-throwers seems to be killed by a misthrown kitchen knife but minutes later she reappears, quite alive. Emily is certain she saw the young woman die, but where is the body? In the midst of the crazy evening, Emily is determined to solve the mystery.

This is a novella, maybe 70 pages long, and takes place over a single night. The party is crazy, one I would love to be at but would probably be uncomfortable, with it’s performers and the fire, the huge dilapidated house decorated for the event. And the random but staged happening interludes add more confusion to what is already a bizarre evening.

Emily herself is an odd woman. She seems to have been really attached to her dog and having a hard time letting it go. She’s a little socially awkward, but trying her best to have fun, at least until the incident. She’s tenacious, I’ll give her that, sticking to what she knows she saw despite the contradictory evidence. She’s likeable, for the most part, and I’ll be interested to see what mischief she gets into in teh next installment.

As for the mystery, there turned out to be not much to it. What you think happened did. And the title is a bit of a giveaway, too.

Overall, it’s a quirky, light read. I didn’t love it, but it was enjoyable enough. The characters were certainly worth meeting, even if some were a little over the top.

3 out of 5 stars

Category: Mystery

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Emily Castles #1
Published February 2, 2011
File size: 138 KB

Book source: Won

Emily Castles Series

  1. Three Sisters
  2. Showstoppers