This was a lovely treat from narfna, courtesy of the 2020 Book Exchange. I loved the clever telling of the story-within-a-story, and I almost wanted to know the end of the ‘fictional’ story more than I did the ‘real’ one.
Susan Ryeland is an editor. Her company publishes the Atticus Pund series, wildly successful detective books with a Poirot/Gamache-style main character. She introduces herself at the beginning, saying the ninth book in the series would change her life. Then you get to read the manuscript of the latest book along with her. Pund is investigating two possibly connected deaths in a sleepy English town, while also confronting some personal demons. Just when it gets to the “And the person who did it was…” chapter, the manuscript ends, and we’re back with Susan. She goes to her boss, asking where the final chapters are, only to find out that the author, Alan Conway, has died, and the chapters are missing.
From there, Susan begins her own investigation. Alan left a suicide note, but how did he really die? And how can there be so many coincidences between his final Atticus Pund novel and his own life and death? And sidebar, why does her boyfriend keep popping up in her investigation, when he was supposed to be in Crete?
I liked the outer story, I liked the inner story, and I liked Susan. I thought it was funny how her insider knowledge of murder mysteries kept helping AND hindering her, leading her to discount clues because real life doesn’t work like that! That only happens in books! Both mysteries end satisfactorily, but Susan’s story doesn’t end quite the way I wanted it to. She seemed happy with it, though, so that’s what counts.
Thank you, narfna! I’m already trying to decide who to loan this to first. My favorite part of Book Exchange is sharing what’s been gifted to me!