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ARC Review: Murder Most Actual by Alexis Hall

Book Cover


From the author of Boyfriend Material and Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake comes a cozy mystery that revisits the Golden Age of detective fiction, starring a heroine who’s more podcaster than private eye and topped with a lethal dose of parody — perfect for fans of Clue, Knives Out, and Only Murders in the Building!

When up-and-coming true crime podcaster Liza and her corporate financier wife Hanna head to a luxurious hotel in the Scottish Highlands, they’re hoping for a chance to rekindle their marriage – not to find themselves trapped in the middle of an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery with no way home. But who better to take on the case than someone whose entire profession relies on an obsession with all things mysterious and macabre? Though some of her fellow guests may consider her an interfering new media hack, Liza knows a thing or two about crime and – despite Hanna’s preference for waiting out the chaos behind a locked door – might be the only one capable of discovering the killer. As the bodies rack up and the stakes rise, can they save their marriage — and their lives?

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This, as I’ve come to expect from Alexis Hall’s books, was clever, delightful, and incredibly funny. I highlighted SO many quotes.

I don’t normally go in for the cozy mystery genre, despite my younger self’s love of the Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, Mandie, and the Hardy Boys. I took a chance on this one because of the author and I’m so glad I did because I loved it. Especially the witty and cheeky references to Clue.

I also really love the way Liza and Hanna’s failing marriage was portrayed, from the cold bordering-on-hostile relationship at the start of the book to their increasing closeness as the guests were killed off. One might expect a series of murders to drive people apart rather than bring them together, but in this case one might be wrong.

The characters were so quirky and the crimes so tangled that it was just fun to watch Liza play detective for real, not just for her podcast, to try to brazen her way through it to a solution.

All in all a delightful read.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Kobo Originals for providing an e-arc for review.

Favorite Quotes:

But she also wasn’t interested in sitting around an expensive room in an expensive hotel for two days and three nights, glaring at her wife with nothing to say. So they went downstairs, to see if they could find something to say there.

He was in that unguessable age range that could have been anywhere from twenty-something to forty-something, and somehow gave the impression of wearing a monocle despite not, in fact, wearing a monocle.

So as an almost-functional party of five, or at the very least, a party of five with their resentments deeply buried, they went through to the dining hall.

Nearer to the door, an older woman made entirely out of corners and decorum was engaged in a far less one-sided conversation with a man of unguessable years in a plum-coloured smoking jacket.

Liza could feel her heart in her chest, not pounding exactly, just… there, drawing her attention in a way she couldn’t quite remember it doing before.

Outside the snow was dancing a waltz with the wind.

So they went to breakfast. Which, like all of the other parts of the holiday that didn’t involve corpses, mysterious women in cupboards, or wondering where it all went wrong, was divine.

She blinked again. “It’s like she’s come to a costume party as the abstract concept of heteronormative sex.”

There was the colonel, slathering mustard onto a Cumberland sausage. There was the professor, sipping coffee and picking a plum from the fruit bowl.

Liza knew she was talking about the investigation, but the words still hung in the air like really unwelcome snowflakes.

She found Hanna sitting up in bed with her nose in her eReader. If you could have your nose in an eReader, which you probably couldn’t.

Hanna had done the I statements which meant that she was trying super hard to be understanding while also, on some level, losing her shit.

And with either the best or the worst timing in the world, there was another gunshot.

“A thousand apologies.” Sir Richard did not look as if he was offering even one apology.

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