Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering is a 1930’s set murder mystery, first in the Drew Farthering Mystery series, published by Bethany House.
English gentleman Drew Farthering and his faithful friend Nick love mysteries, but they are the sort of fellows who read them, not solve them. Until, that is, they return to the estate Drew shares with his mother and stepfather, only to find a houseful of guests—and the man sleeping in Drew’s own bedchamber is reputed to be his mother’s lover. Drew is enraged, and the only thing that can cheer him is the arrival of his stepfather’s American niece, Madeline. They enjoy one another’s company at his mother’s party the next evening, until they stumble upon the corpse of his mother’s lover on the grounds.
Drew and Nick are quick to help the local police. They know the “Rules of Murder”: that is, a good author should never include secret passages, easily-identifiable foreign suspects, or other tricks of convenience. The mystery before Drew, Nick, and Madeline, however, seems to break every rule. Meanwhile, red herrings and blackmail come to light, as the murders keep occurring. And they’re far too close to Drew for comfort.
As is evident from the cover, the story is a nostalgic homage to Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie, yet maintains a voice all its own. It’s a mystery, not a suspense, and while a romantic thread is certainly in the book, the journey of Drew and Madeline’s romance is not paramount. The mystery is what matters most, and it’s a doozy. The story is clean, to boot—there’s no problem sharing this with teens.
Meanwhile, Drew realizes his relationship with God isn’t what it should be, and he takes the first steps of faith.
I thoroughly enjoyed Rules of Murder and look forward to the next books in the series!
This book was provided by Bethany House for this review. A positive review was neither promised nor expected.