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Twenty-six-year-old Emily Castles is out of work...again. So when famous romance author Morgana Blakely offers her a job helping out at a conference in London, Emily accepts. Just as eagerly, American blogger Winnie Kraster accepts an invitation from Morgana to attend as a guest, not realizing she has, in effect, accepted an invitation to die.
As a cast of oddball characters assembles at the conference hotel, grievances, differences, and secrets begin to emerge. When Winnie goes missing, and then is found murdered nearby, Emily begins to suspect that someone involved with the conference is responsible. Could it be one of the organizers, one of the authors, a member of the hotel staff, or even the supplier of the chocolates for the conference gift bags? Emily teams up with guest speaker and eccentric philosophy professor Dr. Muriel to find out.
Offbeat and engaging, this entertaining comic mystery is the first full-length novel featuring amateur British sleuth Emily Castles.
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Emily Castles is a twenty-six-year-old Londoner who lives in Brixton, south London, where I live. The London that you'll find in the Emily Castles Mysteries has familiar locations and landmarks, but it has a village feel that is typical in cozy mystery books: neighbors know each other and help each other out.
I started out reading Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Arthur Conan Doyle, and I go back to their stories time and again, both on the page and on TV and film. Miss Marple has to be one of my all-time favorite characters in a book! More recently, I have enjoyed mysteries written by Charlaine Harris, Alexander McCall Smith and M C Beaton.
With the Emily Castles Mysteries, I wanted to create stories that use some of the enduringly popular ingredients from the golden age of British crime writing. But I have set them in the present day, so there's a little grit mixed in with the fun. Emily herself, with her dimples and her dark brown hair, her sweet nature, her good humor and her love of solving mysteries, is partly based on my daughter, who is around the same age. Unlike my daughter, Emily will never get older... only a little wiser, perhaps, and a little more adept at sleuthing as the series develops.
Like all my books, the Emily Castles Mysteries feature strong, interesting female characters, and plenty of funny lines. But these are clean, comic mysteries that can be enjoyed by readers of any age. I hope readers will enjoy them and keep coming back for more.
Helen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. In addition to the Emily Castles mysteries, she is the author of Alison Wonderland, Being Light and The Miracle Inspector.
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