Series: Ernest Cunningham #2
Published by Mariner Books on January 30, 2024
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When the Australian Mystery Writers’ Society invited me to their crime-writing festival aboard the Ghan, the famous train between Darwin and Adelaide, I was hoping for some inspiration for my second book. Fiction, this time: I needed a break from real people killing each other. Obviously, that didn’t pan out.
The program is a who’s who of crime writing royalty:
the debut writer (me!)
the forensic science writer
the blockbuster writer
the legal thriller writer
the literary writer
the psychological suspense writer
But when one of us is murdered, the remaining authors quickly turn into five detectives. Together, we should know how to solve a crime.
Of course, we should also know how to commit one.
How can you find a killer when all the suspects know how to get away with murder?
I read the first book featuring Ernest Cunningham, Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone, last year but apparently never wrote a review. I totally enjoyed it and its gimmick worked well, which is why I picked up #2, Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect. I don’t typically like meta elements in mysteries, but I like how aware Ernest, our first-person narrator is. He knows the rules of his genre and often references us as the reader and what we might be expecting from his sequel.
This time around, Ernest is a guest speaker at the 50th Australian Mystery Writers Society festival, which is taking place on a train. Of course, one of the authors is murdered and Ernest decides to investigate – and write his second book.
This book is funny and almost too clever. The characters are an interesting bunch, with plenty of secrets and more history than one might expect. Ernest is still witty and self-conscious. The plot is put together very well, with several twists and a couple of amusing epilogues.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: