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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 6 July 2015
69 five star reviews so far - though a lot of them of the "Great! Must buy more books by this author" variety - so what am I missing?
Certainly not the hackneyed plot, cardboard characters, unlikely situations, complete lack of suspense, and dialogue so contrived and wooden that it's hard to tell if it's a 12 year old boy or his grandmother speaking. A stiff, smug and patronising sleuth (he's a sexual magnet for all the women in the castle, apparently) who recounts everything in such dogged detail that it reads like a police statement, is just the cherry on the cake. I skimmed through to the end to find out whodunnit, and found that I didn't care.
Two stars because it was free, and I've read worse, I suppose: it's unpretentious, and very clear and thorough. If you were looking for an undemanding, old-fashioned country house murder mystery to pass the time on the daily commute or whatever then it might do, but I thought it was extremely dull.
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on 27 April 2014
What a surprise, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as I don't usually choose stories like this. It was quite a revelation, loved the main character, it was funny and engaging in parts, will look for more by this author.
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on 19 February 2016
This book was set in 1980, so there was no internet or mobile phones. Parts of the book
seemed dated to me, so I don't know if it was first written all those years ago.

Every 100 years people disappear mysteriously from the castle home of the Rowe family.
So this Christmas Sir Tony Rowe and his wife Harriet invite her ex-boyfriend, Adam, to their home in
the hope that he can unravel the mysteries, as he had been a renowned reporter.
The extended family, Adam, Harriet's friend, Penny and 3 servants are cut off from the world by a blizzard.

There are two murders and 3 attempted murders and the suspects could only really be one or more of 5 people
in the castle. Yet people seemed quite happy to sit down to eat knowing that somebody nearby was a brutal murderer!
Adam starts off detesting Harriet's sister, Eve (surely a poor choice of names?), then quite likes her, then rows with her,
then fancies her, and on and on. This Mills & Boon type scenario lost the book points from me. Eve slept most nights in his
bed when Adam needed nursing (without sex as she'd had a bad experience with a man). Could the castle not come up with a
camp bed?

Adam has strange dreams, which didn't add to the plot. He got concussion twice and there were corny double meaning
lines like "I must get Adam into bed ...." with both parties blushing like teenagers.

Saying all that, I did enjoy the part of the book dealing with the murders and give the book 3.5 stars.
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on 19 March 2015
Promised well from the blurb, but I found it difficult to get into, and a bit of a plod to get through to the end. It uses a "house cut off and murders committed" scenario. I found the dialogue rather stilted, and the style rather formal. The many references to the hero and heroine in several "will they/won't they" situations seemed to be dealt with in a fairly juvenile way in my opinion. There were a couple of bits where a witness said something to the protagonist and we were not told what it was, only that it provided the key to the mystery - I found that a bit pointless, or at least handled strangely. Why not just tell us what was said and let us work on the clue for ourselves? Did finish it but it became a bit of a slog.
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on 2 October 2014
I did not enjoy this book at all. I skipped the first chapter altogether as it rambled on so much. It started to get better, but sadly got worse so skipped more and more bits. I only then finished it to find out what happened but wish I hadn't bothered. I got fed up of Eve having a shower all the time, that's all she ever did! Adam was annoying, he was acting too heroic all the time. The 12 year old boy acted more like he was 40. The police didn't appear to be even slightly concerned that there was a killer on the loose and dead bodies lying about.The withheld information nearing the end was just annoying and frustrating, it was obviously done to hold the suspense until the very end, but it really was just tedious. There were too many characters to keep track of and it was a really wishy washy ending.
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on 9 September 2014
This is a more up to date version of an Agatha Christie style murder mystery.
Our hero (Adam) finds himself invited by his ex girlfriend Harriet to spend Christmas in the castle belonging to her husband Tony. But there's a motive behind the invite as Harriet & Tony want Adam to investigate a family secret. However when the family & their guests find themselves snowbound with a murderer in their midst, Adam & Eve, Harriet's sister, investigate which puts them in danger.
Not a bad tale with enough to keep you guessing to the end.
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on 5 December 2014
Not a bad read but the main characters just became more and more annoying and the ending was completely flat. It was difficult to gauge when this book is supposed to be set - there was a reference to typewriters and carbon paper and no references made at all to modern technology such as mobile phones, internet etc so it made the book feel too old fashioned.

The sub-plot/love story was extremely corny and didn't add anything to the story.
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on 25 September 2014
I don't write many reviews, but this woefully bad book has 4 stars and I don't want anyone else to be misled by that.
It reads like a story written by a 7 year old with all the grasp of plot and character that a child of that age would demonstrate.
The two main characters are so annoying that I wanted them both to die.
This book was free and I STILL feel cheated.
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on 24 August 2014
This is a really good read. All very improbable and far fetched but none the worse for that. I'm not sure when it was supposed to have been set as the speech patterns made it hard to pin down.
Only jarring element was the precocious Charlie who sounded more like a forty year old than the child he was supposed to be. Didn't matter though, I liked it immensely and will seek out this author again when I need to "escape".
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on 30 August 2014
I have downloaded dozens of free books from Amazon to my kindle of the last few months, and most reflect the price. This however was an unexpected gem among the majority. I feel really lucky to have discovered this in the 'free books' section unexpectedly. Basically an Edwardian style murder mystery in a mansion (actually a castle in this case) book, but updated to the late 1990s. No later I suspect in order the preclude mobile phones from interfering with the (deliberately) cliched 'telephone lines down' plot requirement.
Not only a well crafted update on an old standard, but the characters are all very well written.
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