Monday, August 19, 2013

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

Any self-respecting literary purist would have shuddered in horror when the book she was hoping to read began to look like a Dorothy Sayers rip-off. Not me. I said to myself, "How delightful!" and decided I was in for a good time.

And I was right.  About the good time I'd have reading it, that is. But Rules of Murder is by no means just a Dorothy Sayers rip-off.  There was a  taste of Dorothy Sayers' influence in the matter of characters and style, it is true; as well as a bit of Agatha Christie flavor in the setting; and the tiniest bit of P. G. Wodehouse fun around the start of the story.  However, that only added to the charm of this delightful and clever book. Julianna Deering is an accomplished mystery writer in her own right.

Drew Farthering is 1930s landowner with not a thought in the world farther than enjoying life as a stylish gentleman and falling in love with a beautiful American, Madeline Parker. But when a dead body is found in his own gazebo, he decides to solve the crime, armed with the skills he's gained as an avid mystery reader and a complete knowledge of the rules of what cannot happen in a murder mystery.  But what will happen as murders pile up and the murderer seems set on ignoring all the rules?

What can I say? Rules of Murder combines the Golden Age Mystery feel with a Christian fiction flavor, perfect for old mystery buffs who want to read something newer or romance lovers who want to get into mystery. I'm happy to say there were a couple twists and turns in the plot that surprised me and I didn't guess the murderer 'till the very end (quite an accomplishment on the author's part.)

A few months ago, when I was thinking of writing a mystery myself, I looked up Father Knox's Rules of Detective Fiction and was very disappointed when my oh-so-lovely plot broke one of the rules. But I'm delighted to see Julianna Deering intentionally break almost all of his rules and still end up with a clever story.  As a matter of fact, I'm a little miffed I didn't get to the idea first.

Highly recommended.

My rating: 9 out of 10

Disclaimer: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Rissi said...

Have to agree with you, Maria - this book is a keeper. So charming. Excited to see where book 2 leads. :)

Rachel (Cynthia) Heffington said...

AH! Looks SO good! I love cozy Dead as a Scone and The Final Crumpet by Janet and Ray Benray...have you read those?

Hannah E. M. said...

I keep hearing great reviews on this book--it should be fun to finally read it!

Hayden said...

This is like, the third review of this book I've commented on. But's charming, isn't it? Glad you liked it!

Emma Jane said...

Ooh, I like myseteries. Perhaps I'll read this one, I've been seeing several reviews on it.
I just wanted to let you know that I've awarded you over at my blog!

~Emma Jane