An Invitation to Murder

Frank Renfield, Baron Renfield of Renfield Hall, will go to any lengths to preserve his noble heritage. Along with his fiercely determined wife Carole, he concocts a plan to marry their daughter to Karl Langer, a young American millionaire- a union that will solve all Frank’s urgent problems. Unfortunately for her parents, Jessica is in love with Alan Lavender, a handsome, but crude young man. When Alan’s uncle is found murdered, suspicion immediately falls on Frank as a result of his uneasy relationship with the man. The Renfields throw a lavish birthday party for Carole, but the evening is tainted when Alan is killed and a young man shoots himself dead. And things take a sharp turn for the worse when another, unconnected, murder is laid at Frank’s door. Can Frank prove his innocence? An will the murderer be caught before they strike again?

This book was previously published under the title of Tongued by Fire

I love a murder mystery set within a grand, old house. This murder mystery really delivered on both the murder and the mystery. There were multiple murders and mysteries both past and present. There was so much going on in this book and I was strapped in for the ride.

I deliberated between giving this book 3 or 4 stars. If half stars existed, it would have been a 3.5 star read for me, I rounded down on this occasion but it was still an enjoyable read and I will be keeping a lookout for more murder mysteries by Norman Russell.

The timeline of this book was rather confusing. There was a tech millionaire and reference to Windows 10 but also there were extremely dated attitudes to dating, sexuality, and a lot of old fashioned dialogue (although I do love the use of the world ‘valise’ when referring to an overnight bag). Plus when a young girl told the police that her father beat her, the police didn’t react…surely that would have warranted an investigation into the child’s safety? This book was set in 2017, I honestly think that the book would have been far more enjoyable were it set in the 1950s , obviously with the tech millionaire having made the wealth elsewhere

So many of the characters were just awful which exactly what I want from my murder mysteries since unpleasant characters make for good victims. Lord and Lady Renfield were awful and just plain mean for no reason. They were also abusive and had acted terribly with zero repercussions and were aghast that suddenly their actions had consequences. Karl was so boring and his obsession with aristocracy was borderline creepy. I rolled my eyes almost every time he had some dialogue! The less said about the Karl/Jessica romance, the better. It was completely unbelievable for that to have happened in 2017.

Jean was absolutely adorable! We all need a Jean in our lives because she just loved the bones of Jessica. Jessica was just a limp lettuce of a character despite her initial fire, it was good having Jean look after her because she very much needed it. Noel and Chloe were so fun too, I’d love to read more about their investigations and their relationship. Detectives are always enjoyable to read about!

I don’t want to give any spoilers but there were a lot of moments in this book where I actually gasped because they were so surprising, in a very good way.

Thank you to NetGalley and Joffe Books who provided me with an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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