A well-done mystery, thriller, that intentionally breaks all the rules one might expect to see in a modern mystery. Those rules were initially set down by Fr. Ronald A. Knox in 1929 and can be found at numerous sites on the internet. The author of the current book set about to write a novel that broke all ten rules - Rules of Murder is the result of her experiment. With the exception of one rule, she managed to do so. Which rule was it - that will be left to the reader to discover as the book is read.
For much of the book, I had a very different opinion than I was left with as I finished it. As I told others, my initial reaction was that I was reading the most boring book that I could not put down. I felt like I had walked into an adult version of the Hardy Boys - with a romantic twist to account for the fact that we were dealing 20 somethings, Drew Farthering, Nick Dennison, and Madeline Parker, rather than the teenage Hardy Boys.
By the time I finished the book, I found myself connecting with the characters and wanting to know who the real culprit or culprits might be. I found the history upon which the book was based (Fr. Knox’s Rules for Murder), to be an interesting study in its own right - worthy of a few minutes spent on Google discovering their origin and detail about the man who originally proposed them.
Drew, Nick, and Madeline, work, mostly together, to keep up with or ahead of the local constabulary. Inspector Birdsong seemed more like a bouncing ball as he kept following the clues. It is the three young people that discover key clues that keep the case moving forward, even after all the principals have decided that the case has been resolved.
One of the sub-titles of the book is “A Drew Farthering Mystery”, suggesting that further titles featuring some of the same characters may be forthcoming. One can only hope.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.