How to solve your own murder by Kristen Perrin

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When 16 year-old Frances Adams got her fortune told in 1965 she took it seriously to the disbelief of her friends, Emily and Rose. When the fortune teller predicted 'Your future contains dry bones' and 'All signs point toward your murder', Frances’ life changed; despite the ridicule of her friends the prophecy would haunt her and within a year, one of the friends is dead. The narrative shifts to sixty years later when Frances is a great aunt living in Dorset while her niece, Laura, and Annie, Laura’s daughter are living in an eight bedroom house in Chelsea owned by Frances. Laura is a well known artist and she wants to clear the basement for a studio. When Annie sends some of the stored trunks to her great Aunt’s place in Dorset she gets back a request from Frances’ solicitor to attend a meeting there to discuss Annie becoming her beneficiary, even though they have never met. In much the same way as in Emily Barr’s This Summer’s Secrets the narrative switches back and forth between the past and present as Annie, an aspiring author of murder fiction tries to piece together the clues her great aunt left before she was murdered. It is a nice concept to use the ‘murderboard' set of notes Frances left as she imagined who might want to kill her, with the murder fiction aspect and the actual murder but it does sometimes make it hard to remember who the many characters are and where they fit in. At some points Annie and her mother in 1965 are indistinguishable. However, the double timeline does take the reader on the journey and Annie’s conversations with her friend Jenny help to keep the reader on track. Lovers of Midsummer Murders will enjoy the multiple threads of this entertaining read.

Themes: Murder mystery.

Sue Speck