Sunday, December 29, 2013

Audiobook Review: Invitation to Die


Invitation to Die
(An Emily Castles Mystery, Book 1)
Author: Helen Smith
Narrator: Alison Larkin
Unabridged, Length 6 hrs 20 min
Publisher: Brilliance Audio 10/15/13

Publishers Summary:
Twenty-six-year-old Emily Castles is out of work…again. So when famous romance author Morgana Blakely offers her a job helping out at a conference in London, Emily accepts. Just as eagerly, American blogger Winnie Kraster accepts an invitation from Morgana to attend as a guest, not realizing she has, in effect, accepted an invitation to die.
As a cast of oddball characters assembles at the conference hotel, grievances, differences, and secrets begin to emerge.
When Winnie goes missing, and then is found murdered nearby, Emily begins to suspect that someone involved with the conference is responsible. Could it be one of the organizers, one of the authors, a member of the hotel staff, or even the supplier of the chocolates for the conference gift bags?
Emily teams up with guest speaker and eccentric philosophy professor Dr. Muriel to find out. Offbeat and engaging, this entertaining comic mystery is the first to feature amateur British sleuth Emily Castles.
©2013 Helen Smith (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.  

My Thoughts: 
Absolutely hilarious!  Although I love mysteries, it wasn't the story that kept me listening. Oh, there was a murder committed and plenty of red herrings to keep me guessing but I was laughing so hard at times that I missed a clue or two.  The Romance Writers of Great Britain are hosting a conference which will include blogger reviewers who have won a writing contest.  One of the bloggers is murdered before anyone even meets her.  Is it because of a one star review she has written about one of the authors' novels?  The writers are a zany bunch.  Cerys Cadfael is in a snit due to "picking up something nasty on the Google alert" (it was a negative review of her latest work).  Zena writes sensual romance novels and her ritual for inspiration includes lying in her bath. She prepares for her day with chanting and an altar.  She even has a portable altar for when she travels.  Morgana Blakely, famous romance novelist, is presiding over the conference.  She has hired Emily Castles to help.  Morgana seems to need a lot of drinks to calm her nerves and give her courage to deal with the publicity over the murder.  Emily is a very unusual sleuth.  She solves the crime by noticing anomalies and sometimes stops during her investigation to wonder WWJD.  What would Jesse do?  Jesse was a much loved deceased pet dog.  A little silly but funny as well.  I was entertained by the way Emily's mind works.  

I couldn't seem to keep up with the male characters.  The names Des and Lex (or was it Les and Dex?) were so close I couldn't remember which was which.  Maybe I just didn't find the men as funny as the women.  

Alison Larkin's performance was brilliant. I thought she was particularly good with Morgana and Lena's voices.  Invitation to Die is definately a book that is better heard than read.  I would have pronounced Cerys as if it begins with the letter 's' when it's such a beautiful name if pronounced right.  

This was my first experience with Helen Smith's writing.  I really like her wit and sense of humor.   I'm looking forward to more of her work.  I give Invitation to Die 5 stars because I laughed all the way through it.  

Review copy provided by the author.  Listen to a sample here.




1 comment:

  1. I just finished listening to this one to and really enjoyed it. It did give me one nightmare though, dreaming someone was trying to toss me off the top of a hotel.