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Erica’s Pick of the Week: How to Solve Your Own Murder

When reading a mystery, being right is my second-favorite thing.  

Being wrong is my favorite. 

Let me explain: I love to ID the killer in the early pages and spend the rest of the book ferreting out all the clues the author has planted. It’s gratifying! But the more mysteries I read, the more I realize that the real fun comes when I discover that while the detective was outwitting the criminal, the author was outwitting me.  

So when I tell you that Kristen Perrin’s How to Solve Your Own Murder pulled the wool over my eyes, I mean it in the best way. My fiendishly clever solution? Totally wrong. And I adored it.  

In 1965, Frances Adams visits a fortune-teller at a country fair, hoping for a glimpse of her future. What she gets is a cryptic, harrowing prediction of her murder. Sixty years later, despite her obsessive attempts to unravel the riddle, the prophecy comes true. Frances is murdered in her home, and her great-niece, Annie, is tasked with finding the killer. 

Annie moves into her great-aunt’s sprawling estate, and discovers Frances’ teenage diary, allowing the story to unfold across two timelines. Characters appear in both present-day Castle Knoll and as their younger, 1965 selves. It quickly becomes apparent that Frances’ quest to thwart her future death ruined nearly every relationship she had – and that there are connections between Frances’ murder and the disappearance of her best friend six decades ago.  

The story has all the elements of a classic English mystery – conniving relatives, class conflict, eccentric village life, and more – with determined and kind-hearted Annie giving it a modern feel. Kristen Perrin is a master of misdirection, and when the solution is revealed, not only does it make perfect sense, but it also casts every clue in a new light. That’s impeccable craftmanship, and deeply satisfying. 

If you’re looking for a classic British whodunnit with a modern feel, an appealing cast, and charm to spare, or you enjoy Elly Griffiths and the ever-popular Midsomer Murders, How to Solve Your Own Murder is a perfect fit — whether you solve the crime or not!

Categories: Books and More

Tags: Books and More

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