But when Drew and Madeline discover the mangled body of Lincoln during a party, the two are drawn into a web of deceit and danger that casts a shadowy pall over their blossoming romance. A longtime mystery aficionado, Drew determines to launch his own investigation with the help of Madeline and his best friend and valet Nick. But real-life detective work is nothing like the fiction he loves, his amateur efforts breaking every rule of crime-solving in the book.
Rules of Murder (A Drew Farthering Mystery Book #1)
His investigation casts a shadow of suspicion over family and friends, soon calling into question everything he thought he knew about himself. The more Drew persists, the greater the danger, and after second and third tragedies strike, all that stands between him and those he loves may just be his unconventional thinking At the risk of waxing hyperbolic, please indulge me when I say that I have been waiting for this book for the better part of my adult life.
As a teenager I cut my mystery-loving teeth on tales of murder and mayhem by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, in due course expanding my reading scope to fall in love with the works of her contemporaries such as Rex Stout and Dorothy L. Whether in print or on-screen, memorably portrayed by actors the like of David Suchet as the inimitable Poirot or Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple my personal favorite portrayal of the character , I've long devoured classic mysteries and the film versions remain some of my consistently favorite television.
This type of storytelling, told with intrigue, intelligence, and panache, never gets old -- but I began to lose hope of ever discovering an author capable of telling a tale in the vein of the masters in the inspirational fiction market. When it comes to period mysteries, I want pitch-perfect historical detail, smart, fast-paced plots, and sparkling dialogue -- and Rules of Murder delivers on all fronts.
Deering is clearly passionate about the genre and has done her research, not only translating the feel of a classic Christie mystery into Drew's world, but her narrative shines with period detail, mannerisms, sparkling dialogue and a wry, self-deprecating sense of humor. The latter quality is reminiscent of the classic Hollywood equivalent of a Christie mystery -- the Thin Man films that showcased the memorable sparring between William Powell and Myrna Loy as high-class amateur sleuths Nick and Nora Charles.
Drew is every inch Nick Charles sans the ever-present drink , from his razor-sharp intelligence to his perfectly tailored suit, with the added bonus of a British accent. Deering not only takes a stab at deconstructing the tropes of classic mysteries but manages to succeed at incorporating a very subtle faith thread through Drew's character arc -- an aspect that could have easily tanked the narrative flow of the storyline, stripping its characters of their charm and the mystery of its effectiveness.
Drew, Nick, and Madeline either consciously address or accidentally break most of Ronald Knox's "Ten Commandments" for detective fiction. I loved having these fictional "contemporaries" of my favorite authors referencing and deconstructing the works that would make them famous. This marks my second time reading Drew's first adventure, and I loved it every bit as much as my first introduction. Deering is a master at incorporating period detail and best of all, the whip-fast dialogue patterns of the time, forever memorialized in the films of the s.
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I was struck afresh by her facility at incorporating faith into the storyline in a wholly believable, generic fashion, that succeeds in not feeling forced and refreshingly authentic to Drew's character and social position. Authors, take note: Deering's subtly drawn incorporation of faith is all the more impactful and effective for its understated, emotionally authentic arc as Drew grapples with the concept of evil, betrayal, and his own shaken sense of self.
With Rules of Murder Deering has established herself as a voice to watch in period mystery fiction.
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The characters are established, the beginnings of a love story suggested, and the tantalizing promise of secrets hidden within Drew's past, sure to be explored in further installments of the series. Drew is an utterly charming hero, and the cast of supporting players peopling his world are well-developed. I loved Madeline's humor and depth -- I do hope that in future volumes she develops a bit more of the His Girl Friday -style spark and energy heroines in classic mysteries are known for -- a mix of Nora Charles and Christie's Tuppence. Deering's mystery debut is a charmer from start to finish, replete with delicious period detail, effervescent, bubbly dialogue and well-drawn characters.
This book is, at the risk of sounding dramatic, a bit of a dream come true for this mystery-lover. Bravo, Ms. Note: This is a slightly edited version of my original review, first posted in August View 2 comments. Jul 07, Lyssa rated it it was ok. To be fair, I think Ms. Deering captured the breezy attitudes of the time very well. It is not her fault that they grate on me. If I had found Drew's manner charming as intended instead of cocky and shallow and slimy, the book probably would have gotten a higher rating.
But unfortunately, if you can't stand the main character, it's probably not going to end well. Despite trying to give him depth, the constant careless, insincere banter really turned me off.
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I thought the ro To be fair, I think Ms. I thought the romance was kind of ridiculous and unbelievable. Perhaps as a fling, nothing more. Their instant mutual attraction and declarations of love built on nothing was reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. This is not a compliment; while heralded as the greatest romance of all time, those who of us who recognize it for what it really was a tragedy , place blame where it is due: on the immature, selfish and unstable lovers.
But I digress. The plot was built well enough, I suppose. Except the end when the villain completely broke character for the sake of explaining any and all loose ends and there were quite a few. The reader is constantly told, in addition to or instead of being shown, and is never really left to make their own conclusions.
View 1 comment. Feb 21, Pamela rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery , united-kingdom , own , historical-fiction , christian-fiction , debut , top-picks-read-in Oh what a jolly good, cleanly written, classic whodunit! Rules of Murder was a delight to read. Such a bang-up start to a debut series. Old fashioned gentile sensibilities blended with a splash of romance, a smidgeon of cheeky humor, a wee dram of tomfoolery, and a good many twists and turns - up and down stairs, across the English countryside, and all around the town - which will keep one fully engaged a Oh what a jolly good, cleanly written, classic whodunit!
Old fashioned gentile sensibilities blended with a splash of romance, a smidgeon of cheeky humor, a wee dram of tomfoolery, and a good many twists and turns - up and down stairs, across the English countryside, and all around the town - which will keep one fully engaged and guessing until the very end. The dashingly handsome Drew Farthering and the plucky, "whip-smart" Madeline Parker from over the pond, make quite the sleuthing team and romantic pair when joined together with their good old pal, Nick, the witty and wry son of the butler, as murder and mayhem threaten to destroy the Farthering dynasty and the well-heeled energy producing company it founded.
Within the first few pages, I thought: I see where this is going; a classic love triangle gone south - deadly south. Not everything, or everyone, is as they seem. Reading a few pages more, the apple cart upturns. My theory is looking iffy.
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A few chapters more, my cart is smashed to smithereens. By books end, what I had presumed to be apples, weren't apples at all - but rather Mums the word. Spoilers I shall not bequeath. Except to say, no apples or carts were injured in the making of the book. Well, I presume they came to no harm. Apples and carts being merely a metaphor and all. Moreover, Julianna Deering seems far too delightfully charming and wordsmith genteel to be the sort to go around smashing things while she writes. But who knows? Her characters did their share of thrashing and smashing.
Decoriously written, though. And at times, humorously too. The scene involving a rather large window, a pair of wingtip shoes, heavy brocade curtains, and a jolly good fistfight was hysterical! With a capital 'H'. Oh yes, a jolly good whodunit all the way around. There wasn't anything, except one small niggle, that didn't suit my fancy.
I'm not a big fan of "eyelash fluttering" romance. Rules of Murder wasn't melodramatic through and through. But there were moments In all fairness, however, the romantic drama wasn't the obnoxious, ridiculous, eye-rolling sort. So really, a personal niggle on my part. And just a small one at that. View all 4 comments. Mar 30, J. The author is obviously a fan of Dorothy Sayers as the protagonist is modeled after Lord Peter Wimsey.
But a number of problems arise early on in this whodunit. You can tell who the first victim will be from a mile away. As the story progresses, it seems as though no one could be the murderer. The characters are all one-dimensional and the story lacks suspense. Not much here except women dissolving into tears, geezers having heart palpitations, and Drew of the manor strolling arm in arm with someone. There are better books of this genre on the market. Oh, I wanted to like this one so much! It started out so promising and occasionally dropped the names of so many of my favorite authors like Dorothy L.
Sayers and Agatha Christie! But it just didn't do it from me. The romance, while cute and flirty at first, quickly became intense and descended into horrendous insta-love. The plot kept throwing in more characters and side tangents and tangling everything up. I didn't particularly care about anything or anyone It kept things going. But some of the plot contrivances, such as the Asian valet's accent, caused me to physically wince.
By the climax I had only a dim idea of what was going on and I cared even less to figure it out.
I kept with it to the end, however, in honor of the charming beginning that sucked me in. The Christianity laced throughout the story, while light, felt awkward. I feel disappointed but resigned. Jul 22, Carissa rated it it was amazing Shelves: read-in , christian , christian-mystery , blogging-for-books , utterly-transporting-reads.
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