Read This, Not That: Fair Play Mystery

Mysterious Affair at StylesRules of Murder

Never heard of a “fair play mystery?” All that means is the subgenre of mysteries where the reader can solve it too – all the clues are presented in the novel, with no hidden information.

Agatha Christie was a master at this type of mystery, and if you’re looking for a Christie-type reading experience, it’s hard to beat the original.

Which brings me to Rules of MurderRules of Murder (A Drew Farthering Mystery Book #1) by Julianna Deering by Julianna Deering. First, the positives: isn’t that a fantastic cover? And doesn’t the premise of it sound wonderful?

Except, there’s a big letdown. While description sounded strong, the plotting itself was weak. There are red herrings galore, but the solution still was disappointingly easy to figure out. The main character annoyed me, as did the main secondary characters.

I get what Deering was trying to do with this book, and presumably the series, but overall it just didn’t work for me. I found myself longing for one of Christie’s original books, instead of this attempt at a nod to Christie.

Perhaps the later books in the series improve; plotting often does, but I’m more concerned with the personality issues that annoyed me, as I’d expect that to continue in later books.

Instead of falling for that fabulous cover (and the later books in her series also have wonderful covers), go with the original – Poirot in The Mysterious Affair at Styles was lots of fun.

Publisher’s Description:
Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate. When a weekend party at Farthering Place is ruined by murder and the police seem flummoxed, Drew decides to look into the crime himself. With the help of his best friend, Nick Dennison, an avid mystery reader, and Madeline Parker, a beautiful and whip-smart American debutante staying as a guest, the three try to solve the mystery as a lark, using the methods from their favorite novels.

Soon, financial irregularities at Drew’s stepfather’s company come to light and it’s clear that all who remain at Farthering Place could be in danger. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer–and trying harder to impress Madeline–Drew must decide how far to take this game

Book Details

Title: Rules of MurderRules of Murder (A Drew Farthering Mystery Book #1) by Julianna Deering
Author: Julianna Deering
Category: Fiction / Historical Mystery
My Rating: 2 Stars

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  1. Someone should hire that cover artist to do reprints of Christie novels. 😉

    You just can’t beat ol’ Poirot!

    • That cover artist is fantastic. And I’d love for Deering to keep writing more mysteries, as plotting really does seem to be something that authors get better at as they continue. Maybe I’ll just skip ahead a bit in this series and see if she improves. 🙂

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