When an invitation arrives at Mallowan Hall for a murder mystery party given by new neighbours the Wokesleys at Beecham House, Agatha Christie insists her housekeeper/friend Phyllida attend in their absence. And who can resist such an invitation…certainly not amateur sleuth Phyllida! 

When she arrives, she discovers Beecham House in a bit of disorder, so she offers the overwhelmed housekeeper her assistance until the party is under way. The hosts have enlisted family friends to play parts in the mystery, and Mr. Wokesley will play the victim. But it is soon discovered that Mr. Wokesley is indeed a victim of foul play in real life. 

With Inspector Cork delayed by a weather-related bridge failure, Phyllida steps up to help the local constable solve the crime. At first it seems no one has a motive to see their host dead, but as Phyllida investigates, she discovers each friend playing a part in the mystery is playing a part linked to their real life. And then the motives begin to stack up. 

Colleen Cambridge has created a community at Mallowan Hall that is a delight to visit. The characters’ nuances are developing and the relationships between the characters are evolving. The author’s style of writing is very appealing to me – clear and concise, yet seems to fit the time in which it’s set. 

All-in-all, one of my favourite books of 2023. 

5 stars