by Cloggie Downunder (Wollongong NSW): How To Solve Your Own Murder is the first adult novel by British author, Kristen Perrin. The audio version is narrated by Alexandra Dowling and Jaye Jacobs. Recently jobless, aspiring murder mystery writer Annabelle Adams is living with her mother in her great aunt Frances’s Chelsea house when she receives a summons from the woman’s lawyers.

Annie has been made the sole benefactor of her great aunt’s estate and assets, a woman she’s never met, and is attend her at Gravesdown Hall in the Dorset village of Castle Knoll to learn what responsibilities this entails. But when she arrives there, in the company of the lawyer and other interested parties, they find Frances Adams quite dead.

Since she had been told a fortune predicting her murder at a summer fair at age sixteen, Frances had always been wary of certain items, and had made it her business to know everything about everyone, in case they might end up trying to kill her. It didn’t increase her popularity in Castle Knoll.

The special conditions of her will require potential beneficiaries to reside at Gravesdown Hall and pits them against one another to solve her murder, for it is indeed murder, within a week, or the place will be sold off to developers, a premise that really is rather contrived. There’s a large cast so many of them lack depth and appeal.

The story is told over dual timelines, with the 1960’s narrative in the form of diary entries whose dating is a little confusing. It turns out that Frances Adams has the dirt on most of the people around her, giving them ample motive to kill her off. But Annie is distracted from her investigations by the unsolved disappearance back in 1966 of one of two teenaged friends with whom Frances had a toxic closeness.

The plot is quite convoluted and several aspects require the reader to don their disbelief suspenders. There are some twists and surprises, a dramatic climax, and a sequel that some readers may be interested to read. An adequate debut. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Quercus Books.

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