Quirky private investigator Erica Coleman is no stranger to murder and mystery — which is why her best friend's daughter Megan is confident in Erica's unique ability to unravel a disturbing mystery developing in the ramshackle old house she shares with her college roommates, Liz and Beth.
In the quaint historic district of Dover, Delaware, lies Crooked House — an apt name for the once — magnificent home. Following an alarming rise in the number of “accidents” surrounding Liz, the girls enlist Erica's help to stop the mysterious assailant. Soon the mishaps become blatant attempts on Liz's life, and Erica's initial skepticism disappears when things go from disturbing to deadly. As she uncovers a tangled web of love, money, and greed, Erica must draw upon her investigative prowess to crack the case before she becomes an unwitting victim herself . . .
Unabridged audio book
Just as I was settling into the story, I began to realize it sounded awfully familiar. Sure enough, it is a knock-off of Agatha Christie's Poirot "Peril at End House." It isn't set in the same time period obviously, and the main character is a different detective. But, other than that the characters are quite recognizable. This is my first mystery by this author. The fact that she can't come up with her own mysteries has left a bitter taste in my mouth.
Marlene Bateman has written another fun mystery with lots of suspense. I like these kinds of mysteries because as you read you can try to gather clues and try to figure out who's guilty. It's even better when there are shocks and surprises along the way and the guilty one turns out to be someone other than who you thought. That turns out to be the case here. Early on something rather shocking and unexpected happens that really made me want to know what was going on. Erica is a fun character who reminds me of Monk (the TV OCD Detective) except with fewer emotional issues. She loves to cook as well as detect and her OCD ironically helps with the detailed nature of both of those kinds of tasks. I found it easy to empathize with some of the other characters, such as Megan, Erica's best friend's daughter who brought her in on the case as well as her roommate Beth. Liz, the seeming target of a killer, owns a cool old house that is falling down and may in fact be at the heart of the mystery. Only by reading the book can you find out. A great culinary mystery for those like me who love the genre, quite appropriate for young adults as well as adults.
I haven't read the first two books of this saga (Motive for Murder, and Death in the Family) but I honestly didn't need to. You could read this as a stand alone and get all the information you need to know about Erica and her background just reading this book.
This is a fun mystery with a touch of romance and comedy. Not to mention a good amount of delicious recipe's that I am going to have to make because they sounded delicious! There are some twists and turns while Erica does her sleuthing. One minute you think you know who the murderer is (yes there is a murder) the next thing you know you suspect an entirely different person.
Marlene kind of sneaks in some hints throughout the book on who the guilty person is, but you need to pay attention and not second guess yourself. But then again, that is what a good mystery is!
This was a great mystery that had me jumping from person to person as to who did it. Just when I thought I had it figured out I realized I didn't. I wouldn't have guessed the ending. It makes me want to read it again and see all the clues I missed the first time. The new characters are wonderful and it's great to see Erica in action again. This is a wonderful mystery that will keep you turning the pages till the very end. I recommend it to anyone who loves a good twist at the end. Be sure to check out other Erica Coleman books, A Death In The Family and Motive For Murder.