Evil Under the Stars, C.A. Larmer
On the lighter than air side of the cozy spectrum this is a series that will appeal to readers who like a bit of self-aware silly in their crime fiction.
Third book in the Agatha Christie Book Club series, EVIL UNDER THE STARS, continues the adventures of a group of friends, linked by their shared love of the novels of Agatha Christie. When I reviewed the first novel it was littered with references and clues to Agatha Christie plots that were surprisingly missed by many of the club members, which at the time seemed a bit odd, but that's definitely been tightened up a lot here. It will help if you read the series in order though, as this is really more about the characters in some way - and there's a lot of them - and the connections are a bit complicated, so it would be better if you know them, and their backgrounds as you go through.
With servings of humour, love and longing, and a plot that's more than a bit of a hat-tip to the structures that Christie herself was fond of, EVIL UNDER THE STARS is told in a slightly arch manner which fits with the style of the series, the characters and the intent. Cute series, designed for and meeting the requirements of fans who like their crime on the very cozy side.
It was supposed to a frivolous night out. The champagne was flowing, the rugs were arranged, and the Agatha Christie Book Club had settled in to watch their favourite mystery Evil Under the Sun on the moonlit screen above.
Yet it all comes to a crashing halt when a woman’s lifeless body is discovered lying between the jumble of picnic baskets and blankets. She has been strangled and discarded like an empty champagne bottle.
How did no one see the killer lurking?
How did no one hear the victim’s cries?
And how could the Agatha Christie Book Club have been lounging just metres away and missed the whole event?!
In their latest and most complex puzzle yet, the book club friends unite to solve the unlikeliest of crimes, one that takes place in a public park, with scores of witnesses and not a single motive or suspect in sight.
When the local detectives fail to progress the case, the book club friends do what they do best, channelling their inner-Miss Marple to help out. What eventuates is a battle of wits—and wills—between the NSW Homicide Squad and our nosey amateur sleuths, with newcomer Detective Inspector Liam Jackson caught firmly in the middle.
Will the amateur detectives solve the crime first? Do the experts beat them to the punch? And how soon will they discover that the key to it all lies deep within an Agatha Christie novel?
This one’s for true Christie aficionados looking for a contemporary take on the classic whodunit.