by Benjamin Stevenson
Read by Barton Welch
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Content: There are deaths (it is a murder mystery after all), some swearing, including a few f-bombs, and talk of kidnapping. It’s in the Mystery section of the bookstore.
Ernest Campbell is a writer of how-to books: how to write a murder mystery, specifically. So, as he starts this story, he lays out the rules. And then, he strictly adheres to them (well, mostly) as he describes what happens at a family reunion in a ski chalet in Australia one winter. There’s history: no one in his family is completely innocent, but there are also murders happening at the chalet: A cop ends up dead to begin the book. We follow along with Ern as he attempts to unravel the mystery.
Oh, this was so much fun! Seriously. I love it when a book is the thing while satirizing the thing, and this absolutely was. It’s poking fun at all mysteries for having a “formula” while following the formula. The idea that our main character (only by default, because he’s writing the story down, as he reminds us) is someone who knows how to pick a mystery apart was fresh and funny. There are asides and snarky comments, and explanations (“I told you there was a plot hole in the book. I just drove a truck through it.”). It also helped that Welch was a particularly delightful narrator. He has a lovely Australian accent (which is appropriate, since it’s set in Australia), and is super engaging which keeps the story rolling.
I had a grand time with it, and have looked at the book as well – it’d be a fun read in either format.