Title: A Party to Murder
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 26, 2019
Page Count: 220
Reviewed by: Bob
Heat Level: 1 flame out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
When Jamie Roma and Derek Lee find their blossoming love affair interrupted by dual invitations to a house party from a mysterious unnamed host, they think, Sounds like fun. The next thing they know they are caught up in a game of cat and mouse that quickly starts racking up a lot of dead mice. *Yikes,* they think. *Not so fun.*
Trapped inside a spooky old house in the middle of nowhere, with the body count rising among their fellow guests, they begin to wonder if they’ll escape with their lives. As a cataclysmic storm swoops in to batter the survivors, the horror mounts.
Oddly enough, even in the midst of murder and mayhem, Jamie and Derek’s love continues to thrive.
While the guest list thins, so does the list of suspects. Soon it’s only them and the killer.
And then the battle really begins.
“It was a dark and stormy night.” And though eschewing such classically trite language, Mr. Inman’s opening immediately and atmospherically sets a like scene for this suspenseful tale. Of course, reviewing a mystery novel is problematic to the extent that is necessary to avoid gratuitously revealing plot turns. That’s why the novel is designated a mystery! So, I must be trusting that the reader may be familiar with this prolific author, and, further, will be impressed that his current approach here lies somewhere between the astute and constructive dexterity of, say an Agatha Christie, and the overtones of gothic romance, as is found in Rebecca’s Daphne Du Maurier. [My salute to her: “Last night I dreamt I went toManderley again.” Hooray for established standards!]. All the while, Mr Inman has successfully structured A Party to Murder to meet the modern reader’s taste for simple, palatable material, as usually found on television. Have no fear: you need to strain at consuming what is offered, as it quite nicely pre-digested for you.
It’s classic! A small group of individualized characters are introduced. A challenging situation is established. As the latter develops a pace, we become intimately familiar with our limited population and their interactions. As the story proceeds, we get to know these people in greater depth, watching their reactions to plot twists and turns with anticipation. As is usual in this form, the reader arrives breathlessly at the denouement of discovery, followed by a rapid and exciting resolution. A little light sex along the way is a pleasant seasoning to this confection.
As a personal aside, and being a syntax curmudgeon, this reviewer hopes a some grateful reader will present Mr Inman with a gift box of commas, the additional use of which might aid in the clearer flow of a few sentences.