Book Review: Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering
Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
- I received a free, advance copy of Rules of Murder from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Drew Farthering, wealthy heir to the Farlinford Processing company, adores murder mysteries. He even has the latest Agatha Christie novel on standing order from the local bookstore. But he never imagined that murder would show up on his own doorstep on the night of a glamorous party, and not just one murder, but two. And now, since murder has assaulted his homestead (huge though it may be), Drew takes it upon himself to put his nose for mystery to good use. With his closest friend Nick Dennison (son to the Farthering's family retainer) in tow, Drew determines to outwit the criminal mind wreaking havoc on his family. Add to the mix the lovely Madeline Parker (niece to Drew's stepfather) and the author has created the perfect concoction for a 1930s English mystery.
For anyone who enjoys the era of Wodehouse's Jeeves & Wooster or Agatha Christie's Poirot this book offers the highest appeal. The author knows the vernacular used in 1930s England by the young and horrendously wealthy, and particularly understands how to take a young man like Drew Farthering (would-be-detective) and make him interesting and fun. Because Drew is fun. He and Nick are such delightful pals, scampering around and trying to solve the murders that crop up on Drew's estate. The characters are likeable, from start to finish. Of course, loving Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster as I do, it only made sense I would adore such ridiculously playful characters as Drew and Nick. To some, I'm sure, they will seem silly and immature, but to me, they are delicious.
Ms. Deering's writing style is simplistic and minimalist, just as I like it. No absurdly big words that require a dictionary or long sentences where the reader forgets where the author was headed. She utilizes active descriptors instead of passive, helping the reader place themselves right in the thick of the action. And her characters are flawlessly designed. Drew and Nick, despite being cut rather from the same playful cloth, or unique from one another in character design. Madeline is a likeable heroine instead of annoying. I cheered for her and Drew. She brings out the best in him and that is what every heroine is called to do with her hero. Even his constant use of "My Darling" was rather adorable instead of irritating!
It isn't easy following in the footsteps of the great mystery writers like Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers but Julianna Deering makes an exquisite go at it. I admit, she had me going. Not so much that she had me fooled, but she fooled me into thinking she hadn't fooled me. I was disappointed for awhile, thinking I had the mystery all figured out long before I was even halfway through the book. There were too many cliches running around that made me originally think the novel mediocre at best. But the ending was a slam-bang finish and had me slapping my palm to my forehead in impressed disbelief. It's not easy to surprise a mystery connoisseur and I applaud her for managing just that!
I now salivate at the thought of a second book and wish Ms. Deering the best possible success!
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