Murder Most Actual – Alexis Hall

“They were lost.

Liza and Hanna have been having marriage problems for some time now, so Hanna books them a romantic weekend away in a remote Scottish hotel. Liza’s irritation at not being consulted about the whole thing, though, is soon lost to the distraction of an event very close to her career as a true crimes podcaster. Maybe she shouldn’t be relieved at the chance to investigate a murder, right enough!

This was a gem of a find for me on NetGalley. I thought it’d be a fluffy cosy mystery, but it has more teeth than that. In fact, it perfectly treads a line between almost-gritty murder mystery, and a bit of a spoof of the board game Cluedo. Colonel Colman and his liking for dijon, indeed 😉

Those little nods were a huge amount of fun for me to spot, cleverly not quite direct references but so close. However, as the book progresses it gets a little more serious, meaning the punning never becomes irritating even as some of the characters (looking at you, Ruby who’s not Ms Scarlett) stay just a little on the pantomime side.

I did find some of the relationship woes a little trying to begin with. Hanna in particular is just *so* negative and sarcastic, I could see how it would grate on her wife as well as the reader. But it seems that near-death experiences can be good for a marriage and it’s genuinely lovely watching them remembering their love for each other as events spiral ever more deadly around them.

Some of the set up and events are pretty outlandish here, but very in the style of classic Christie – world infamous crime lords and all that – and it does benefit from being read as a bit tongue in cheek. But the way the mystery unfolds is nicely satisfying, and I really liked the epilogue’s glimpse at life after.

I’ll be looking out for more of Alexis Hall’s books, this was a lot of fun! 🙂

murder most actual coverNetGalley eARC: 320 pages / 33 chapters
First published: 2021
Series: none 
Read from 12th-15th February 2022

My rating: 8/10

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