Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her long-term boyfriend. But life isn’t as idyllic as it should be: exhausted by the responsibility of making everything work on an island where nothing ever does, Susan is beginning to miss her literary life in London – even though her publishing career once entangled her in a lethal literary murder plot.
So when an English couple come to visit with tales of a murder that took place in a hotel the same day their daughter Cecily was married there, Susan can’t help but find herself fascinated. And when they tell her that Cecily has gone missing a few short hours after reading Atticus Pund Takes the Case, a crime novel Susan edited some years previously, Susan knows she must return to London to find out what has happened.
The clues to the murder and to Cecily’s disappearance must lie within the pages of this novel.
But to save Cecily, Susan must place her own life in mortal danger…
Although I was not greatly enamoured of The Magpie Murders, the previous book in this series, I had liked the character of Susan Ryeland, editor of the books written by obnoxious writer Alan Conway. In Moonflower Murders Susan has left publishing and his running a hotel in Crete with her Greek boyfriend, but curiosity, dissatisfaction with her life and the promise of a large fee, tempt her back to England to investigate a link between a book Conway wrote before his death and a real murder.
The book, Atticus Pund Takes the Case describes a murder in a Devon hotel which has many parallels with the death of Frank Parris in a family run Suffolk hotel, eight years previously. Alan Conway had visited the hotel, asking many questions and Cecily Treherne, daughter of the owners, believed he revealed the true murderer in his book. Stefan Codrescu, an ex-offender has been sent to prison for the crime but maybe he was not the culprit. Now Cecily has gone missing from her marital home and no-one else has been able to solve the puzzle.
We are given the chance to work it out ourselves by the inclusion of the whole text of Atticus Pund Takes the Case within Moonflower Murders. Although this mystery is cleverly written in the style of Agatha Christie, I found this part long and tedious and the almost parallel characters can easily confuse the reader. However, on returning to the main text, Susan works out the clues for us and she also sorts out her own personal problems. A most unusual book which most will enjoy as long as you concentrate!
Moonflower Murders on Amazon UK
My review of The Magpie Murders