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The Smart Woman’s Guide to Murder by Victoria Dowd

Title: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Murder

Author: Victoria Dowd

Published on: 6th May 2020

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Smart Woman’s Guide to Murder is one of the best mysteries I have ever read. Read it on the beach, or for Halloween’s, Christmas or even Valentine’s! This murder mystery is simply perfect for any occasion.

The Smart Woman’s Guide to Murder is a must-read for any mystery lover. A mansion in the middle of nowhere, heavy snowfall that locks them in, no telephone lines or cellphone signals or WiFi and to add to the ‘creep’ factor is a dead body.

The story starts with our protagonist Ursula Smart tagging along with her mother Pandora to a retreat. Pandora’s book club wanted to choose a venue that is away from the hustle and bustle of a city. They meet Mirabelle, Pandora’s best friend at the mansion. Soon, we are introduced to the rest of the members of the book club. There’s Aunt Charlotte – Pandora’s sister, Bridget and her dog Mr Bojangles, and Less – Pandora’s friend.

If you are wondering what kind of a name is “Less”, let me tell you her real name. Joy. Well, Joy is one of those friends who sticks to you like a parasite, sucking all the good stuff. She also nicks stuff! So, everywhere Joy goes, people end up having a thing or two ‘less’ in their house.

Ursula is treated very badly by everyone except Aunt Charlotte. Mirabelle thinks Ursula is a good-for-nothing and Pandora anyways has no attachment to her daughter so no point in talking about her! Bridget thinks Ursula was not supposed to ‘barge-in’ to their book club meet. Ursula’s not a member you see, unlike Mr Bojangles who loves to read and make notes. Woof!

So, the housekeepers of the mansion are called Angels. Thankfully, not the weeping angels from Doctor Who! Mr and Mrs Angel have an expressionless face and when they are told of the dead body on the grounds, they maintain a stone-faced look. The police cannot be called in as the roads are filled with snow. No telephone lines or cellphone signals too, remember.

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Since it has been snowing heavily since the previous evening and the murder victim was alive the previous day, this can mean only one thing – the murderer is in the mansion.

This book is a laughter riot. I know, murder is no funny business. But think of a locked room mystery written in Murder of my Aunt (by Richard Hull) style. Quirky and awkward characters locked in a mansion on a cold and snowy day, with a murderer lurking among their midst.

I cannot not speak about the club members obsessions with reading Gone Girl. They have discussed it thrice already. They were supposed to discuss some other book this time but… Murder or not, dead bodies keep piling up but there is only one thing on Bridget’s mind. “We would be better off discussing the book, you know. It keeps us distracted from the bodies piling up.”

The mystery behind the murder(s) started to get a little creepy in the second half. Red herrings (not the fish) were plenty. I couldn’t identify the killer or the reason for the murder(s). The denouement was fantastic. By the time we are told about the killer, the tension is at an all-time high. So I did expect a spectacular ending. Was I disappointed? Nope. Nada!

I really like quirky characters in a murder mystery. Add some edge-of-the-seat kinda adventure and you have an absolutely engrossing and entertaining mystery.

I absolutely enjoyed reading The Smart Woman’s Guide to Murder by Victoria Dowd. Entertaining, engrossing and a mystery that keeps one guessing until the end. I highly recommend this book, especially to my GAD fan buddies. The Puzzle Doctor has already read it and given it a high rating. So see, it’s not just me who’s claiming this book to be a fantastic read. 😀

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