Narrator: George Blagden
Series: Marius Quin Mystery #1
Published by Storm Publishing on November 3, 2023
Genres: Historical Mystery
Length: 7 hrs 43 mins
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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A mystery novelist with writer’s block, a lavish party to ring in the new year, and a film star with three bullets through his head…
December 1927. Mystery writer Marius Quin has one previous bestseller, endless looming mortgage payments, and no idea how to write his next book. When his childhood friend Lady Isabella Montague invites him to an intimate New Year’s Eve party hosted by a narcissistic actor, Marius seizes upon the distraction. With his perpetually glum Basset hound along for the ride, he navigates the snowy lanes to the opulent estate of Everham Hall. As the celebrations begin, fireworks light up the sky, champagne corks pop, and then the host is murdered…
Snowed in and with the police unable to reach them, Marius is the closest thing the panicked party has to a detective and he is swiftly nominated to find the killer. But when two more guests are attacked, Marius soon realises that solving mysteries is even harder than writing them. With Bella at his side, and a clutch of conniving suspects to choose from, can Marius find the culprit before the killer targets him?
Murder at Everham Hall had everything I adore in a mystery, but it somehow fell a little short for me. Marius Quin, our amateur sleuth, is invited by an ex-girlfriend, Bella, to a New Year’s house party at the home of her friend, actor Cecil Sinclair. As is to be expected, Sinclair ends up murdered and the house is snowed in, so the police can’t get to them. Marius, deemed the most likely to be able to solve a crime by virtue of being a (struggling) mystery writer, starts questioning people and hunting for clues. All of the guests are suspects, of course, except Bella who is Marius’ sidekick, but some have better motives than others.
I never really warmed up to Marius and had trouble buying into the situation. Marius is struggling with his second book and his childhood sweetheart/friend just happens to invite him to a swanky house party where there just happens to be a murder. It took me a while to believe the whole thing wasn’t just a setup to get Marius thinking again. For the record, it wasn’t. Cecil really is dead; he really was murdered; there really is a killer in the house.
I will say though that Marius is witty and trying to be charming. I did love his mother and aunt and uncle who he lives with. They were only in a couple of scenes, but they are a hoot. He also has a cute pet, as every amateur sleuth should, a dachshund with a tendency to cuddle up with Marius’ main suspects.
I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a good job. The characters were well defined and he gave a light edge to the whole thing. There is also a portion where Bella sings, which is lovely.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: