by Julianna Deering
SO sorry for the long delay in posting. Things have been super crazy around here! Tomorrow, we’re off on a new adventure, which, if you’re interested, will probably be blogged over on the travel log.
So, Rules for Murder. Drew Farthering is a dapper young man living in England in the 1930’s. Comfortably upper class, he is a Gentleman to the core. At the opening of the book, we are introduced to Drew, his mother, and his step-father, plus other sundry household members. Step-father’s American niece and her friends arrive for a visit early in the book, and Drew is smitten with the charming young Madeline. When tragedy, in the form of murder, strikes the house, Drew, his best friend Nick, and Madeline, do a little detecting of their own.
I enjoyed this book. It was a low-stress read (especially for a mystery). I never really felt like anyone was in danger. On the other hand, it made the mystery somewhat dull. When I was reading the book, I enjoyed it, but when I put it down, I didn’t necessarily crave to return to it.
While the dialogue was pleasant and the characters likable, they were still a bit flat. I didn’t feel as though I was particularly vested in any of them. The budding romance between Drew and Madeline seemed almost formula-like. It was almost as though the author made a list of every stereotype for every kind of person you’d expect to find in 1930’s England and then made a character to fit each one.
The book is titled after a famous (in the 1930’s anyway) mystery writer, Father Knox, who created ten rules for mystery writers (e.g., no secret passages, no unheard-of poisons, etc.). However, I think the author may have greatly overestimated the average reader’s knowledge of early 1900 mystery authors (or perhaps I am somehow out of the loop). I had never heard of Father Knox, or his list of rules. Consequently, Nick’s constant reference to them was confusing until I finally got online and looked up the list. It would have been very helpful to have a short introduction at the beginning of the book explaining about Father Knox and listing his rules. While the author does have a paragraph acknowledging him at the end of the book, it still doesn’t really explain what the rules are.
Finally, as happens far too often in “Christian” literature, the author seemed uncertain as to whether or not faith should play an important role in this story. While Madeline obviously believes in God and draws comfort from the relationship she has with Him, all conversations on the topic seem abrupt and a bit out of place. In the end, faith doesn’t really impact the story much at all, although I will say that it appears that this is going to be the first book a series, and at the end of this book, Drew is considering his faith (or lack thereof) more seriously.
Overall, I will definitely read a second book in this series, and may even read this one again whenever that second book appears. However, a 3/5 for a story that just felt a bit stiff and wooden throughout.
Please note: this book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review. They’ll probably think twice about doing that again. :-D