Sometimes you just need a good mystery. Agatha Christie style. No cats. No ghosts. Just a murder and a sleuth. That’s what you get with Rules of Murder (A Drew Farthering Mystery Book #1).
But you say you like an interesting setting? How about a country estate in 1930s England? It’s not exactly something I’d look for, but I was pleased to find it. Deering does a great job of setting the period. The dress, the language, the mannerisms. All well done.
Now just because it’s your basic whodunnit doesn’t mean Deering uses characters like game pieces. No, each character has great depth and a wonderful flavor of their own. Starting with the protagonist, Drew Farthering, a rich young sort-of-playboy who discovers some shocking truths about his own past as he works to solve the murder of his nemesis. I say sort-of-playboy because Farthering proves his values go much deeper than that and his devotion to friends and family is unshakable.
Drew, of course, needs a love interest. In this case she’s an American, Madeline Parker, in England to visit her uncle, who happens to be Drew’s step-father. The beautiful and feisty Madeline plays a crucial role in solving the crime, but has a much more important role in connecting Drew with his long-lost faith.
My favorite character is Drew’s best friend, Nick. As it turns out, Nick is the butler’s son. He’s a man caught between his societal status and a deep friendship with his father’s rich young charge. Nick rounds out the team of amateur detectives and adds no small dosage of humor to the dialogue.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. The pace is perfect, never leaving me wanting to skip ahead to the action. That’s a challenge with mysteries of this nature. The protag isn’t a cop, so he must solve the crime while living his relatively humdrum life. That’s where the budding romance makes it a bit easier. Combined with Drew’s revelations about his past, it makes for a great page-turner.
I’ll give it 4 stars. Maybe 4 1/2. Definitely worth picking up.