Ursula Smart and her mother Pandora are invited to the Supper Safari at the Greystone Castle in Dartmoor. Their book club is tagging along. Their hosts Lord and Lady Black are the owners of Greystone Castle. Lady Black, Marsha was a book club member until she married Lord Black and moved to Dartmoor.
When the group reaches the castle, it is raining cats and dogs. Yet, they decide to go on the supper safari – visit neighbors’ houses for a bite and drink. But things take a turn for worse when they realize the dreaded rain and chill has also brought death along. Once again, the Smart Women and their friends are ‘locked up’ with a murderer in their midst.
The Supper Club Murders is the third book in Victoria Dowd’s Smart Woman’s Mystery series. I have read the first and second book of this series – complete entertainment package, if you ask me – and I consider myself lucky to get a chance to read The Supper Club Murders before the release date.
The series revolves around Ursula Smart, our protagonist, Pandora – her mother, Charlotte – her aunt, Bridget – a book club member and Mirabelle – Pandora’s best friend and book club member. Wherever the book club gang go, they end up in the midst of a ‘locked up in the middle of nowhere’ scenario with a murderer in their midst. The gang has received a lot of ‘publicity’ so far. Pandora also blogs about their ‘mis’adventures.
Things have been a little tense between Mirabelle and Pandora since Mirabelle spoke ill of Pandora’s husband. Well, Ursula was singing praises of her father and Mirabelle had to put a stop to it… Marsha Black was a book club member before marrying Lord Elzevir, the owner of Greystone Castle. Marsha has invited Charlotte, Bridget and Ursula to the Supper Safari. They can bring a guest with them. The book club members (Pandora is angry she did not receive an invite) travel to Dartmoor. On reaching, they are welcomed by… rain!
Marsha insists the Supper Safari would proceed as expected, rain or not. Lord Elzevir performs a ‘trick’ involving the iron maiden and the ladies are shocked. After recovering from the ‘shock’, they start their Supper Safari journey. The neighbors join the group and by middle of the night, they are in the last host’s house. Lord Elzevir leaves for the castle while Marsha and Verity (Elzevir’s sister) go back to Verity’s place. The book club gang are on their own so they decide to head back to the castle. This is when the ‘fun’ begins. *eyebrow dance*
This is what Ursula has to say about her ‘mis’adventures:
Maybe it’s more the manner of the deaths circling above my name, in every article little black words like slaughter, stabbed, poisoned, drowned, impaled. They do tend to give the impression that I invite death.
But, until we visited Greystone, I’d never seen anyone killed by a cannonball, nor a body wedged in a priest hole, and I’d definitely never seen medieval waterboarding before.
Since Mirabelle and Mother(Pandora) are not on talking terms, ahem, Bridget seems to be Mirabelle’s new bestie. Also, in the previous books, we had Mirabelle trying to bring Ursula down every single time. In The Supper Club Murders, Mirabelle is completely changed. Bridget keeps throwing ‘clues’ all the way – accusing Pandora of letting Mirabelle down. But the Smart Women have no clue what’s wrong with Mirabelle – at least, not till the end.
Aunt Charlotte is her usual quirky self while Bridget has said goodbye to Bojangles and Bojingles (her dogs). In The Supper Club Murders, we meet Dingerling, Bridget’s Sphinx cat and Dupin, the Blacks’ red monkey. Since the story is set around Dartmoor, we have some interesting information on Hound Tor, the Devil on Dartmoor and Kitty Jay’s Grave. Victoria has written a couple of blogs on these sites. You can read them here.
Coming to the mystery behind the murders – simply mind-blowing! Edge of my seat, nail-biting moment! Not to forget, the victims are killed using medieval techniques – cannonball, left to die in a priest hole and medieval waterboarding. The Supper Club Murders is going to be a perfect Halloween read. *thunder and lightning in the background*
I am a huge fan of Victoria’s storytelling. Quirky characters, a dash of dark humor, whole lot of nail-biting suspense, a mystery that keeps you guessing till the end and a mind-blowing ending! What else does a mystery lover want, eh? Oh yes, not to forget the setting – the creepier the setting is, the murkier the mystery gets. *evil grin*
It goes without saying I highly recommend you to read The Supper Club Murders by Victoria Dowd. Yes, though a part of a series, this book can be read as a standalone but I recommend you to start from book #1.
Many thanks to the lovely Nina Kicul from Joffe Books and Victoria for sending me a copy of The Supper Club Murders.