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The Camilla Randall Mysteries 3-in-1 Box Set

The Camilla Randall Mysteries 3-in-1 Box Set [Kindle Edition]

Anne R. Allen

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Product Description

Product Description

The Camilla Randall Mysteries: Snarky, delicious fun. Bridget Jones meet Miss Marple. Perennially down-and-out socialite Camilla is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but she always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way. 

The Best Revenge is a prequel to the series, and takes us back to Camilla Randall's teen years, when she first meets Plantagenet Smith--and is accused of murder herself!

Ghostwriters In The Sky fasts forward to a more mature Camilla, hoping to have an easy ride at a writers' conference in California. Needless to say fate has other ideas. When a handsome young writer is found dead in Plantagenet's bed, Camilla must enlist the help of a cross-dressing dominatrix to clear Plant's name.

In Sherwood Ltd. a homeless Camilla lands in Robin Hood country, where some not-so-merry men may be trying to kill her, and of course Camilla once again ends up in the most improbable, but always believable, circumstances.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1456 KB
  • Print Length: 827 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: MWiDP (Mark Williams international Digital Publishing) (20 Mar 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007N6GJNQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #205,253 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Anne R. Allen is the author of the Camilla Randall mysteries, three stand-alone comedies, and a nonfiction guide for writers: "HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE" co-authored with PAY IT FORWARD author, Catherine Ryan Hyde.

The Camilla Randall mysteries include THE BEST REVENGE, GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY, SHERWOOD, LTD. and NO PLACE LIKE HOME. The first three are available as a boxed set. The stand-alones are THE GATSBY GAME, THE LADY OF THE LAKEWOOD DINER, and FOOD OF LOVE.


Her blog, which she shares with New York Times bestseller Ruth Harris, was named one of the Best 101 Websites for Writers by Writers Digest. Ruth and Anne also have a boxed set two-fer: CHANEL AND GATSBY, which combines THE GATSBY GAME and Ruth's THE CHANEL CAPER.

Anne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and spent twenty-five years in the theater--acting and directing--before taking up fiction writing. She is the former artistic director of the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, CA and now lives on the Central Coast of California.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  78 reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Possible Way to be Disappointed with This Book! 25 Jun 2013
By Trekelny - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Pull down your list of superlatives. This is the best mystery tale I've read since Spenser, and here's the real kicker- it's just as funny. Fewer fistfights, but what you gonna' do, nothing's perfect.

Camilla Randall as a movie would be "Legally Blonde" meets "Perils of Pauline". My advice to you- well, first off, don't be an idiot, buy this book, but after that my advice would be 1) stop trying to figure out what's up, and 2) read it while seated and wearing a safety belt. The twists and dips got so violent that towards the end of the first mystery I started to feel better when things went badly for Camilla, and nervous when they improved. You just KNOW... but then Anne Allen proves you wrong again. You don't know. Sit back and enjoy.

A debutante with neither malice nor clue is plunged into murder, bankruptcy, drugs, sex and more fashion-nightmares than you can count. Neither she nor anyone she meets turns out to be the person you thought at first: it's not that there aren't wonderfully cliched characters, but they insist on playing musical chairs.

As an author I long to hear readers say that my tales have heart; that tug in your chest while you follow a character means you care what happens, you're invested, the story affects you. Ms. Allen accomplishes this not only for Camilla, but for a respectable cadre of friends, nemeses, and supposedly-chance acquaintances. What on earth will happen next? And one more thing- when readers invest time and energy looking at your world, they need to know it all means something. In spades! You will be watching each crumpled newspaper and discarded cigarette butt before this tale is done- everything comes around for Camilla, which is a true testament to this wonderful character.

Buy this book if you love mystery, adventure, humor, spicy romance, female protagonists, sexually ambiguous confidantes, snippy rivals, reality-immune mothers, Feds who actually know what they're doing, reporters who don't, or the wisest garbage collector since "Dilbert". This is the first book I bought purely because I liked the author's blog post. Her writing gave me complete confidence that I would be in good hands, even way out of my normal genre. And it's probably the best story I've bought this year. My highest recommendation to The Camilla Randall Mysteries.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anne R. Allen's Ever-witty Triple-Dip 2 Aug 2012
By John Williamson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Have to admit it: I only knew author Anne R. Allen through her often-witty and frequently irreverent blog posts. I knew that she wrote novels, but I'm not a follower of that genre known as "chick-lit"... but one should never judge a book by it's cover, or it's title. I enjoyed her blog posts and her viewpoints on everything from social media to her take on the news, along with her comments on reviews and reviewers.

It wasn't until I read How To Be A Writer In The E-Age... And Keep Your E-Sanity!, which Anne co-authored with Catherine Ryan Hyde, that I really began to wonder if these novels that she had written, but I didn't know exactly where to start. A little searching brought me here to The Camilla Randall Mysteries 3-in-1 Box Set, which seemed to be an ideal place.

As it turned out, it was.

The Camilla Randall Mysteries is made up of three of Ms. Allen's previously published stories, and after an introduction by Saffina Desforges, we are taken to the books broken down in this set as three very large chapters.

The Best Revenge is where we first meet protagonist Camilla Randall, who appears in all three of these books. Based in the 1980s, it's also where we're introduced to the author's fast and witty dialogue in this fast-moving romp that takes us from meeting Plantagenet Smith, her gay best friend, to where she's going her best to avoid the lusty Arkansas Chickenburger King (picture a Colonel Sanders type individual here), who has something other than chicken on his mind. We find that debutante "Rosewood girls do not dress like Vestal Virgins in heat" and that our heroine is capable of some pretty wild excursions that take us from coast to coast.

Ghost Writers In the Sky fasts forward to where a more mature Camilla Randall, now a New York etiquette columnist known as the Manners Doctor, accepts an invitation to a Z-list Writers' Conference, thinking that she's going to have an easy ride there. But her life unravels as she deals with a collection of batty writers, tree-hugging protestors, a sharp shooter, an attractive policeman who may be suffering from road rage, a cross-dressing celebrity impersonating transsexual dominatrix, and a dead body in the bedroom. This one is typically fast -paced and hysterically funny.

Sherwood Ltd. takes our heroine Camilla to the England of Robin Hood legend, but Nottingham was never as entertaining as it is with her adventures here. The fashionable, upscale `adult' press, Sherwood Ltd, is seeking for ways to become respectable, and who better to help them than the Manners Doctor? Camilla meets Peter Sherwood, sort of postmodern Robin Hood, and our striving-for-publication author again ends up in the most implausible yet believable circumstances, dealing with a covert smuggling business and a homicidal authoress. This one is an engaging tale, has some adult content, and above all is quite enjoyable.

But it's Anne Allen's humor that jumps out at us, as can be seen especially in Sherwood Ltd. This passage is a perfect example:

"`Yes Peter,' I said. `I can forgive everything. Except maybe the hair.' It really was awful in that Alan Greene rat tail. `I think it's time you let your hair down. Release your inner Fabio.' I reached to pull off the elastic that bound his sun-bleached locks. I fluffed his hair around his shoulders, feeling like a 1950s movie hero romancing the mousy librarian. I giggled. He giggled too, then drew me to him in an intense kiss. With lips locked, we sank onto the futon. His hands moved under my blouse. I let them."

You'll have to read Sherwood Ltd to see how this scene plays out.

Yet if I had to make any criticism, it's based on the concept that I've labeled elsewhere that we're in the depths of "The Summer of the Fifty Shades of You-Fill-in-the-Blanks." I'm not comparing The Camilla Randall Mysteries 3-in-1 Box Set to author E.L. James' wildly bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy, as to begin with, Anne Allen's offering here is far better written, and by a long shot. The character of Camilla is intelligent (though sometimes a bit nave), witty, very articulate, and the range of her mental lexicon has to be in the level of a university professor, at about 15,000+ words, whereas the average college grad is about 6,000+ words. In comparison and apart from writing at about a ninth-grade level in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, E.L. James' protagonist Anastasia appears to have a vocabulary limited to about 2378 words, give or take about a dozen. The most frequently used of her exclamations seem to be a lot of "Oh, my!" and "holy crap!" throughout the trilogy, along with "My breathing hitched."

But where I do find a similarity, and please don't shoot the messenger on this, is that there seems to be a regular convention that's used in chick lit novels, and that has to do with brand plugs. There are disturbing parallels in both, almost like product placements. In the Fifty Shades series we hear ad nauseam of Christian Grey's Audi, his BlackBerry and Anastasia's iPad, along with all of that Diet Coke, Pinot Grigio and Bollinger. Only a film or TV producer could dream up this much product placement. And yet we find similar name-dropping throughout all three volumes of the Camilla Randall Mysteries, with product placements poking through, like Louis Vuitton luggage, Wonderbra, Birkin bags and more. Here's an example: "I think I squealed when I saw my favorite things: the Stella boots, Alexander McQueen dress, Burberry suit, and Versace undies."

Yet it's Ms. Allen's often-amazing prose that pops up when least expected, with true gems such as this:

"Maybe it was the pimply kid in the Marilyn Manson tee shirt who had insinuated himself into the already overflowing car at Columbus Circle. He'd pressed in to join the three of us who had already staked claims on the center pole. I jabbed the boy in the ribs with an elbow. He grunted an obscenity."

Of the three books in this set, this reader must admit that my favorite was Sherwood Ltd. Author Allen's ability to keep a reader going, really showed up in this tale, going from page to page, waiting for what was to come next. But personally, I dislike such overdone product placement, as I did in in the Fifty Shades Trilogy, and know that as a writer, Ms. Allen can do better, and for that reason I'm knocking off a half point for these repeated distractions, even if some of them may be tongue in cheek.

All that being said, Anne Allen had me laughing unexpectedly and sometimes out loud with her wonderful crafting of her words into sentences that became alive and three dimensional throughout these stories. Bottom line is that this is a solid 4-star set of books that are real keepers, and I may have to go to her book The Gatsby Game next.

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Camilla Randall Mysteries 3-in-1 Box Set 16 Sep 2012
By Bruce West - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Reading Anne R. Allen's "Camilla Randall Mysteries" reminds me of eating a slice of gourmet dessert that surprises and delights the senses with each bite. Her prose contains the majority of what has become the list of my favorite phrases in the English Language.

Ms. Allen is unafraid to broaden the boundaries of the genre and slice the dessert just a little deeper, gently illuminating and challenging the conventions of the times and places populated by the lives of her surprisingly familiar and endearing characters.

These stories are so carefully crafted and so cleverly presented that virtually every page offers a unique insight, experience, or perspective, that grabs my attention, tickles my imagination, and makes me laugh out loud.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a surprise! 16 Aug 2013
By Janice Konstantinidis - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am about to read The Camilla Randall Mysteries for the second time! I loved reading this story. The first read was a definite page turner, the second will be for me to savor the plot and its very interesting characters. I was entertained by the witty turns and mysterious little quirks of the plot, fascinated by the characters, and rewarded at the end by a sense of satisfaction of having read a really good story.

There is a depth and freshness about Anne Allen's work that makes for a pleasing surprise when compared to some of the other mysteries out there today. Anne's writing combines all the key elements of a good mystery and more. I enjoy her ability to cause me to want to peek at the ending. Her ability to balance a continuing narrative of suspense while sustaining the credibility of her wonderfully different characters has blown me away.

I say buy it, enjoy it and be grateful that the art of mystery writing is still very much alive in the year 2013. As for me, I'm about to read the first page...again.

Janice Konstantinidis
Webmaster for SLO NightWriters.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series and A Great Fun Read! 10 Mar 2013
By Paul A. Fahey - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
If you're looking for an engaging central character, fun and dizzily paced plots with lots of well-drawn supporting players and light and witty dialogue, you'll love "The Camilla Randall Mysteries Set" by Anne R. Allen. For example, in "The Best Revenge," the plot just zips along, aided by the short and breezy chapters that move the characters from one hilarious escapade to another. Besides there's a mystery to solve in each novel, and Ms. Allen doesn't waste time getting her readers involved. Camilla Randall is a woman you'll root for and easily fall in love with. And the mystery is as compelling and intriguing as her character. I've noticed that some reviewers have also pointed out Ms. Allen's other works, "Food of Love" and "The Gatsby Game" among others, and those novels are a treat as well. Be sure to add those to your amazon Wish List. You won't be disappointed.
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