All Dressed Up by Jilly GagnonAll Dressed Up by Jilly Gagnon
Published by Bantam on September 6, 2022
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
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two-stars

The weekend getaway at the gorgeous manor hotel should have been perfect. But Becca is freshly smarting from her husband Blake's betrayal and knows this is just an expensive attempt at an apology. She may not be ready to forgive him, but the drinks are strong, the estate is stunning, and the weekend has an elaborate 1920s murder mystery theme. She decides to get into the spirit of things and enjoy their stay. What could go wrong?

Before long, the game is afoot: famed speakeasy songstress Ida Crooner is found "murdered," and it's up to the guests to sniff out which of them might be the culprit. Playing the role of Miss Debbie Taunte, an ingenue with a dark past, Becca dives into the world of pun-heavy clues, hammy acting, and secret passages, hoping to at least take her mind off her marital troubles.

Then, the morning after they arrive, the actress playing Ida's maid fails to reappear for her role. The game's organizer--that's Miss Ann Thrope to you--assumes the young woman's flakiness is to blame, but when snooping for clues as "Debbie," Becca finds evidence she may not have left of her own free will.

If you read the blurb above, you know why I picked up All Dressed Up. It’s set around a 1920s theme murder mystery weekend at a wonderfully atmospheric hotel. So there’s the fake murder to solve, that of songstress Ida Crooner, but then one of the staff doesn’t show up for work. Becca is worried something may have happened to the young woman, but no one else seems concerned.

It should have been fabulous. Each of the guests is given a character to play along with a dossier of information and instructions. We have clues for the weekend and clues to the real crime. It’s complicated but in a way that could have been fun.

Instead, we spend way too much time reading about Becca and Blake’s marriage trouble. And the other guests’ marriages for that matter. I’m here for the mystery, not the side drama. And quite honestly, I was a little mad at the author for making me annoyed at the woman whose husband cheated on her. I wanted to root for Becca, but she made it so hard.

Overall, this was a good premise, but I wish I had skipped it.

About Jilly Gagnon

Jilly Gagnon is currently based in Salem, Massachusetts, but is originally from Minnesota, a fact she’ll likely inform you of within minutes of meeting you. In addition to her adult fiction, she has authored both young adult and comedy novels.

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