Book review: How to Solve Your Own Murder by Kristen Perrin

Wednesday, March 27, 2024 Permalink

The title of How to Solve Your Own Murder by Kristen Perrin is a tad misleading because the victim of the aforementioned murder actually tasks her potential benefactors with unmasking her killer.

We kick off in 1965 when 17 yr old Frances hears her fortune… discovering that she will one day be murdered. She’d probably laugh it off but there are elements of the fortune that have already made an appearance, including threatening letters.

Book review: How to Solve Your Own Murder by Kristen PerrinHow to Solve Your Own Murder
by Kristen Perrin
Series: Castle Knoll Files #1
Published by Quercus
on 26/03/2024
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Crime Fiction
ISBN: 1529430089
Pages: 513
three-half-stars
Goodreads

In 1965, seventeen-year-old Frances Adams was told by a fortune teller that one day she'd be murdered. Frances spent the next sixty years trying to prevent the crime that would be her eventual demise. Of course, no one took her seriously - until she was dead.

For Frances, being the village busybody was a form of insurance. She'd spent a lifetime compiling dirt on every person she met, just in case they might turn out to be her killer. In the heart of her sprawling country estate lies an eccentric library of detective work, where the right person could step in and use her findings to solve her murder.

When her great-niece Annie arrives from London and discovers that Frances' worst fear has come true, Annie is thrust into her great-aunt's last act of revenge against her sceptical friends and family. Frances' will stipulates that the person who solves her murder will inherit her millions.

We then move forward in time to the present, but don’t actually meet Frances again as she dies just after the book starts. And now we meet Annie who’s never met her great aunt Frances but she and her artist mother, live in a house owned by the now-older woman. There’s some backstory to her mother’s falling out with her family, nevertheless she’s been led to believe she’ll inherit Frances’s fortune. Some day.

However, for reasons we later discover Frances decides to skip a generation and include Annie in her will instead, calling her to Dorset. It’s only after she arrives [and finds her great aunt dead] she discovers Frances has pitched her against another relative… leaving her estate to whoever solves her murder, giving them a week to do so, or the fortune will be lost.

Annie believes Frances’s murder is linked to the disappearance of one of her best friends (Emily) … back in 1965, so sets out to uncover the events from decades earlier.

Perrin then takes us back to that time where we meet Frances and her best friends, Emily and Rose – Emily in particular pushing boundaries and frustrating Frances. I actually really enjoyed the events of this timeline as the girls’ friendship is tested and as Frances falls in love. It’s kinda nice knowing she’s been happy given we learn she’s spent her life obsessed with her pending murder.

I liked Annie (and as this is labelled #1 and she’s a budding crime fiction author) I suspect we’ll meet her again. I did find it a bit jarring however that she’s never met her great aunt but feels very deserving of her inheritance nonetheless. I also felt a few other characters, including Frances’s lawyer and his son weren’t entirely consistent in their behaviour, though perhaps this was because we were meant to be suspicious of them.

This started a little slowly but was ultimately an enjoyable read. The ‘old’ mystery from 1965 was interesting but also sadly ironic given its eventual impact on the present (and indeed, Frances’s entire life).

How to Solve Your Own Murder by Kristen Perrin was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

three-half-stars

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