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Invitation to Die (Emily Castles Mysteries)

Invitation to Die (Emily Castles Mysteries) [Kindle Edition]

Helen Smith
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Invitation to Die is a quintessentially English murder mystery featuring an astutely drawn mix of larger-than-life characters... The book is very funny indeed... There seems to be a winning line on every page." -The

"An intelligent, likeable contemporary heroine and a clever plotline… Like a modern day Agatha Christie." -Just a Normal Girl in London

"Quirky, whimsical, smart, and engaging... I flat-out loved it. A must-read for romance readers." -Connie Brockway, bestselling romance author and two-time RITA award winner

"Entertaining, gripping and fast paced with laugh-out loud moments." -Bookfabulous

"This book is full of great lines. I was giggling through the book." -Wall-to-Wall Books

"Invitation to Die is a fast, funny, easy read with many enjoyable comic moments." -Mystery People

"I love Helen Smith's writing. Her brand of mystery, shot through with clever observational humour and the sharpest of wit, is something that's been missing from the genre for far too long." -Alex Marwood, bestselling author of The Wicked Girls.

Product Description

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 full-length novel featuring amateur British sleuth Emily Castles.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1758 KB
  • Print Length: 209 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1480555959
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (19 Mar 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,210 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Helen Smith is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, The Crime Writers Association and English PEN. She travelled the world when her daughter was small, doing all sorts of strange jobs to support them both - from cleaning motels to working as a magician's assistant - before returning to live in London where she wrote her first novel. She's the author of Alison Wonderland, Being Light, The Miracle Inspector and the Emily Castles mystery series as well as children's books, poetry and plays.

Helen Smith's books have reached number one on Amazon's bestseller lists in the US, UK, Canada and Germany. Her first book, Alison Wonderland, was one of Amazon Publishing's top five bestselling books when it was launched in the US in 2011. In July 2013, following the publication of Invitation to Die, Helen Smith reached the top spot as "America's most popular mystery author" on Amazon. Her books have been praised in The Times, The Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, Time Out and They have appeared on "best books of the year" lists in For Books' Sake, The Cult Den, The Independent and the Guardian.

Helen Smith has been invited to read at literary events and festivals in London and New York and points in between - including, most recently, a cruise ship en route to California via the Suez Canal. Her work has been read or performed at the National Theatre, The Royal Festival Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, Amnesty International's Headquarters, The Edinburgh Festival and The University of London. She's a Literary Death Match champion and the recipient of an Arts Council of England award. Her work has been optioned by the BBC. She's amazing! Please buy her books.

"Smith is gin-and-tonic funny." Booklist

She blogs at: Sign up here to receive an email alert when a new book is published:

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great as a serial or all at once! 14 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Having read both of the Emily Castle Mysteries, I was excited to read the new one and I think that the idea of it being a serial story is exciting. This first segment does a great job of setting up the story and introducing the characters. I love how Helen Smith creates these very real and very quirky characters in her stories. She has a wonderful ability to describe people and places so well that you feel like you are right there in the story. I am anxious to see more of Emily, who was only briefly introduced in this episode!

Now that the series is complete, I want to add to my original first episode review and give a better idea of the book as a whole. Every book in the Emily Castles Mysteries has painted a better picture of who Emily is. There is something very appealing about this character. She finds herself in these random and bizarre circumstances and yet remains inquisitive and unflappable. I think part of what I like the most about Emily is that she is so down to earth and "normal" and yet she is constantly surrounded by these eccentric personalities that are so well developed and described by Helen Smith.

It is not necessary to have read any of the other two Emily Castles stories to read and enjoy Invitation to Die but if you haven't I highly recommend that you check out Three Sisters (Emily Castles Mysteries) and Showstoppers (Emily Castles Mysteries). They are both great!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great characters and setting 10 Jun 2013
By LondonS
Format:Kindle Edition
Invitation to Die had enormous potential and the makings of an entertaining "whodunnit" and while it did entertain I felt that something was missing. To my own discredit, I can't tell you what that something missing was, exactly. Part of my issue was the end of the book-it felt really rushed and I wanted more... more pages... more Emily... just more explanation even. The conclusion felt a bit rushed to me. To be fair, Invitation to Die was originally issued as a Kindle Serial so maybe knowing that threw me off a bit?

I also got the hint that there was a backstory to heroine Emily Castles; Smith drops in little clues about Emily's relationship with Detective Rory James and Dr Muriel among other things that I didn't get at all. I'm assuming that's because I've not read either of the short stories (Three Sisters, Showstoppers) featuring Castles. As a standalone novel, Invitation to Die could have done with a bit more backstory on Emily.

Enough negativity! Helen Smith's writing style is very easy to read and enjoy. She's very clear and concise without seeming sharp but also doesn't dither away on little details and "fluff" in her writing. There's nothing worse than a writer going on for paragraphs about the "dewey morning" or what-have-you.

And the characters-whoo wee! I Loved (that's right, big L!) the writers in the RWGB, particularly Zena and Nic, the hotel manager, had me in fits. I currently work in the conference and events industry so it was fun to read a book based in a setting that I'm (very) familiar with-minus the murdering. So far, anyhow.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Mystery 19 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
From the opening paragraphs, we all know who is expected to "get it in the neck" (poor lady), but who, pray tell, will be doing the dirty deed? And why? Not to mention when and how?

What follows is a marvelous cast of well-fleshed characters, each one with a quirk (or two) that could very well lead to the committing of a villainous act.

I'm delighted by the chosen setting for the story: a conference for romance writers. When a group of talented, creative, extremely ambitious women are thrown together, anything can happen. (And I mean anything. Believe me! I've attended my fair share of romance writers' conferences. The stories I could tell would curl your hair. Perfect setting for a murder mystery.)

I deem this a highly recommended read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Invitation to die 19 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the rubbish book's I have read couldn't believe the characters l kept leaving it and going back ( I hate not finishing a book) it was drawn out to much detail on silly things not enough action felt very let down because it sounded great so if you like fast moving books give this a miss I can honestly say in all the years of reading it my only 3 bad book !! Sorry but you need more action:((
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast pace story 10 July 2014
By Fran M
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Emily Castles is a most unusual detective who manages to stumble upon murder and solve it through the use of her notebook. logic and tenacity leads to the solution in a page turning story.
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2.0 out of 5 stars lightweight 3 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Read better!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read! 21 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really liked the main character have added the other books to my wish list, good old fashioned murder mysteries which I love not unlike Agatha Raison series but more more modern. Good easy read!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good really English Murder 13 Oct 2013
By Mike
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought that this book was a great read from start to finish and The plot was as good as any Agatha Christie
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Slow
Chose the rating on the length of time it took to read.
Very slow and did not keep me interested. The plot wasn't bad but it came over very flat and dull.
Published 2 months ago by catherine ann green
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed it.
A book written about authors and bloggers. A bit close to home YES!!!!!
I run a chat line about mystery books on Amazon, Barb's Books & Chats. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Barbara Lane
2.0 out of 5 stars Not great
A bit of a silly story really. Doesnt flow well at all. Really didnt get it . Seems to ramble about looking for its own way
Published 3 months ago by RC
4.0 out of 5 stars Invitation to Die by Helen smith
Slightly different book for my usual night time reading. it was not particularly gripping but that suited me. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Welsh Grandma
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely different
I was intrigued by this book from the first sentence and it didn't disappoint.
The characters were well drawn and believable, the plot interesting, although the reason for the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Karen
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor
This book was like walking through treacle, it took my determination of spirit to finish it. Plot was poor, and far far too much time spent on character descriptions, and the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Eminence
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I just could not get into this book,it sounded good, but done nothing for me,I stopped reading it after a couple of chapters.
Published 4 months ago by veronica
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
A bit slow and didnt quite hit the mark and it went over the same things again and again which was a bit boring
Published 4 months ago by Roberta
2.0 out of 5 stars Not great
The book was well written, from a grammar point of view and contained some interesting descriptions - two of the best being the hotel manager and his motivation methods and the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Anon
3.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction, shame about the rest
This started off really well - the author grabbed my attention from the start and had all the makings of a page turner. Unfortunately, scene set, we come to the action ground. Read more
Published 4 months ago by pigsmayfly
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