Invitation to a Killer by G.M. MallietInvitation to a Killer by G. M. Malliet
Narrator: Erin Dion
Series: Augusta Hawke #2
Published by Dreamscape Media on February 7, 2023
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Mystery
Length: 8 hrs 36 mins
Pages: 240
Format: Audiobook
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Crime writer-turned-amateur sleuth, Augusta Hawke finds herself drawn into her second mystery when a celebrity doctor is found dead at a party she is attending!

Callie Morgan is no ordinary aspiring writer. Notorious wife of a Washington lobbyist, Callie believes no publicity is bad publicity and that publishing her scandalous memoirs will help her achieve her heart's desire: a diplomatic posting. She just needs crime novelist Augusta Hawke to be her ghostwriter.

It's hard to say no to Callie, but Augusta does agree to attend her dinner party. The guest list is impressive, and it's Augusta's chance to meet celebrity doctor Doc Burke. But before Augusta really gets a chance to chat with the famous humanitarian, the evening ends in his untimely death.

Signs point to a heart-attack, but Augusta isn't convinced. Especially when his niece tells Augusta about the mystery woman who claimed the doctor's remains.

Augusta decides to host a writer's retreat and invite all the suspects, most of whom are connected in some way with writing. Isn't that what Agatha Christie would do? But the remote lodge soon becomes snowed in and the group starts to crack when it becomes clear the killer may not be finished killing. Can Augusta flush out the culprit before anyone else gets hurt?

Our amateur sleuth in Invitation to a Killer is Augusta Hawke, who doesn’t seem to actually do much writing. I guess she isn’t quite an amateur, she got her PI license after helping solve the case in the first book, which I didn’t read. This time around she’s at a party hosted by a lobbyist’s wife when a celebrated doctor dies. At first, the death is written off as a heart attack, but of course, we’re not surprised when it turns out he was murdered. Someone at the party killed him. Was it one of the CIA couple, the lobbyist or his wife, the book publisher, the image consultant, the congressman or his wife? It could even have been the cook or the butler. Augusta decides the police aren’t treating the death as the murder it clearly was, so starts investigating on her own.

Augusta is kind of a bland character, but hearing the story (I listened to the audiobook) from her point of view gave the whole thing a casual, conversational tone. We have a nice selection of suspects, each with his or her own secrets, no surprise in the Washington area.

Then we have the final Christie-like gathering of all the suspects. They even get snowed in. I don’t know. It felt a bit forced to me. And there was one twist too many. Or maybe that was the point and it’s supposed to be just a touch too much?

I think this worked fine as a stand-alone. We got to know August and her background well enough and the mystery was self-contained. I listened to the audio version. The narrator did a fine job with Augusta’s voice, but could maybe have done better at distinguishing some of the other characters.

About G. M. Malliet

G.M. Malliet is the award-winning author of four St. Just mysteries, seven Max Tudor mysteries, the suspense novel WEYCOMBE, and numerous short stories collected in crime anthologies or published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and The Strand.  A new mystery series (AUGUSTA HAWKE) debuted in July 2022 and an 8th Max Tudor (THE WASHING AWAY OF WRONGS) arrives in 2023 from Little, Brown.

She was born into a military family and moved frequently during her childhood, which nurtured her love of travel. She has a B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in organizational psychology; she also received an M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. and did further graduate study at Oxford University. Her main field of interest is the psychology of the creative mind.

She worked as a journalist and copywriter for USA TODAY, Thomson Publishing and PBS, pursuing novel writing in her free time. In 2008 her award-winning first mystery DEATH OF A COZY WRITER was published and fiction writing became her full-time career. She has since published dozens of books and short stories.


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