Title: Death by Candlelight (Adam and Eve Mystery #1)
Author: Emma Davies
Published on: 9 February 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Francesca Eve is nervous about catering for her first murder mystery party. But as the day ends, it is pretty clear that the party was a roaring success and the host invites Fran for coffee the next day.
Three weeks later, Sara’s (the host) twenty-three-year-old son Adam tracks Fran down and tells her one of the party guests, Becky, is dead. Becky fell ill a week after the party and then died. Adam fears his mother may be arrested if the police suspects foul play. So he wants Fran to help him prove his mother’s innocence.
Death by Candlelight is the first book in Emma Davies’ Adam and Eve Mystery series.
I really liked the murder mystery themed party and how it forms a basis for the real murder. There is also a similarity between participants’ real lives and the roles they played in the murder mystery game. The real murder does not happen until a week after the party. One of the participants falls ill and is taken to the hospital where she dies soon. Turns out, she was poisoned.
Adam is afraid that his mother might be arrested for Becky’s murder. He’s a very shy and awkward guy – well, he’s a nerd and doesn’t get along with many. He hacked the tax council records and found Fran’s address. As the story proceeds, Adam sets up a bug on Fran’s car key – which might have saved her when she was locked in Camilla’s shed. Adam also has a ‘fake cop’ set that he purchased from Amazon – and also a lock pick set, courtesy Amazon – and uses the fake cop ID to get into one of the suspects’ house. Looks like Amazon sells a lot of things! Every creepy guy’s online shopping destination, eh?
Fran is quite okay with Adam hacking the council records and also planting a bug on her car key. Really, Fran? You never found Adam to be a tad creepy? *claps* Fran is no good either. She is a caterer and she knows her way into the kitchen – even random strangers’ kitchen! When she visits Becky’s house on the pretext of giving condolences, she tells Nick (Becky’s husband) to have a good cry in the bath while she sets up the dishes he received from friends and neighbors.
Nick is annoyed that people think he cannot cook or shop. Yet, he does not know which of the casseroles are spoiled and which aren’t. Nor can he clean up the slimy veggies from the fridge. So, what is it, Nick? Decide on one, buddy.
I really found the characters annoying. The stalking guy (Adam), the gossipy and miss-know-it-all (Fran) and the other characters – Camilla locks Fran in the shed because… well, she does not know why she did it. Maybe she just felt like locking Fran in the shed. *shrugs*
Adam does not want his mum to know he’s helping Fran with the investigation. In the second half of the story, Sara and Fran question one of the suspects and Fran wants to tell her Adam’s role in this amateur sleuthing. But she cannot… Also, it was quite shocking to see the police are nowhere in picture. There is a scene where Sara calls Fran to say the police questioned Nick and she’s afraid he might be arrested. And then another when one of the other suspects is dead and the police visit Sara. But other than that, the police are not quite interested in the investigation – Becky did die of mushroom poisoning so wouldn’t the police want to investigate?
The ending was good but the reason for murder wasn’t. Murder mystery game turned real was just an excuse for something… quite cliched, if you ask me. People have killed for love but this game takes it to a whole new level.
Overall, Death by Candlelight was a disappointing read for me. The characters were not up to my liking but the plot was really impressive. I might give the second book a try before deciding if I want to continue this series.