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Rules of Murder

Rules of Murder is a 1930s murder mystery, and the first in the Drew Farthering Mystery series, by Julianna Deering.

Drew Farthering returns home to his English countryside estate of Farthering Place just in time for one of his mother Constance’s weekend bashes.

And his room is occupied by one of the guests.

But ever the stylish gentlemen, he removes the unwanted visitor from his room promptly and at the prodding of his kind stepfather and estranged mother, joins the party.

Things take a turn, however, when a body is found.

A lover of mysteries on the page, Drew finds it a bit more difficult in real life – but enlists the help of his best friend Nick, son of the butler, and as-intelligent-as-she-is-beautiful Madeline, the visiting American niece of his stepfather.

Together they try to piece together the clues to what could have happened on his otherwise peaceful grounds and realize that murder is no game…

I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie. I adore her murder mysteries, which are so intricately crafted and feature such excellent sleuths/detectives! I have nowhere near read them all, but I hope to someday.

Rules of Murder
sounded like it was nostalgic to those novels, and there’s even a blurb on the front cover (a cover I quite like, actually) that specifically stated that ardent fans of Agatha Christie would be satisfied in this book.

I’m sure that’s true… of some.

Personally, I wouldn’t go that far.

Rules of Murder had a feisty start with just enough detail to let my imagination go to work on Farthering Place. It had a fun, large estate feel. Quickly the tone was enjoyable and light, but sometimes lacking in weight.

My issues were based a lot in the romance aspect – it really did little for me. And the spiritual aspects, involving Drew’s doubts about God, felt out of place and forced. I don’t know why so often Christian fiction has to so often have that plotline – I would be happy with the characters simply being Christians without being hit over the head with their affected reawakening. Just didn’t seem to fit in to this book at all.

I was also very concerned that I had the “big twist” pinpointed from very early on. Then I thought that my suspicions were confirmed. To be fair, though, there ended up being a lot more to the whodunit, and many more twists that I had no guesses on.

Despite some clunky moments, I felt that Rules of Murder was a good, if not great, mystery novel.

For me however, Agatha Christie this was not.

*I received a copy of Rules of Murder from the Bethany House Book Reviewers program. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

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