2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 1 book toward her goal of 285 books.

2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 265 books.

Book Review: Invitation to a Killer by G.M. Maillet

About the Book

Callie Moore 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 writers’ 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?

My Review

When I first saw this title listed I didn’t realize it was a second in series, but I’ve been burned by that enough in requesting books that I now automatically search anything that describes itself as “An X Mystery” to see if there are earlier books…. I’m very glad I did because upon being approved I turned to my library to read the first book and quite enjoyed it. If this had been the only book I had read, I would have never turned to the first, so that was fortuitous.

This one started out every bit is entertaining as the first book in the series. There’s a bit of a bizarre set up and seemingly random death, but that’s par for the course in cozy mysteries. There was just enough confusion about exactly what was going on to keep me curious. Right up until, about 3/4 of the way through, the increasingly self-righteous and self-satisfied Augusta Hawke decides she’s going to pull an Agatha Christie, gather-all-the-suspects big reveal party to solve the mystery – and that’s where things just went completely off the rails for me. It was beyond implausible, the solution to the mystery was convoluted and felt totally random, and the blow-by-blow in the epilogue felt unnecessary. This one had me until the end, then totally lost me.

It’s unfortunate, because the concept is fun for a cozy mystery series. I used to live in DC and I enjoyed the return to the environment, as well as the nods to politics and society and local geography. The majority of the book is paced well and while I must confess that I have found the protagonist to become increasingly irritating as the book went on, her nosiness was entertaining for much of the book rather than abrasive. While the suspending of disbelief it required was significant, it was still engaging. Yes, it’s utterly unbelievable that she would continue to be sought out by a local Detective on questions of murder, but it was still a fun construct and I could brush those misgivings aside easily enough. But things just went too crazy with this ending. My eyes were rolling so aggressively as I worked my way through the last pages that I’m surprised they didn’t end up in the back of my head…

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.

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