Death in Disguise by Emma Davies

Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Death in Disguise, the brand new mystery from Emma Davies. My thanks to publisher Bookouture for including me on the tour and providing an advance copy of the book for review. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Netgalley
Release Date: 09 February 2022
Publisher: Bookouture

About the Book

Francesca Eve thought she was prepared for anything at the events she caters for in her pretty little Shropshire village. Missing canapes? No problem. Burnt brownies? A piece of cake… But a dead body? Now that’s a recipe for disaster.

Francesca is nervous aboutcatering her first ever murder mystery party, but it’s clear from the clink of champagne flutes and piles of empty plates that the evening is a roaring success. The guests look spectacular in their disguises, whispering and giggling as they try to identify who killed beautiful young Becky. But days later the game takes a sinister turn when Becky is found poisoned, and all the signs point to the culprit being a party guest.

From the woman having an affair to the guest hiding her true identity, everyone had a secret – and it turns out that Becky knew them all. As Fran finds herself centre-stage in a real-life murder mystery, the finger of suspicion points at each guest in turn. And Fran starts to wonder, were any of these secrets dangerous enough to kill for?

Then the body of a second guest is found, and it becomes clear a deranged killer is going off-script. It seems anyone who was involved in the game that night is in their sights, even Fran. Can she unmask the murderer before the final curtain falls?

A page-turning cozy mystery packed with twists. If you love Clare Chase, M.C. Beaton and The Thursday Murder Club you’ll absolutely adore this unputdownable whodunnit.

My Thoughts

And this is why I don’t do murder mystery evenings. Or dinner parties. Or cooking generally if I can help it … I’ll leave all that to other people, thank you very much. Death In Disguise by Emma Davies has done very little to convince me that any of the above are a good idea, but it has provided me with a great deal of entertainment, quite a few smiles and a true cost crime mystery from a very different pair of ‘detectives’ that really hit the spot.

Francesca “Fran” Eve is a local chef, hired in to provide the catering for the fateful murder mystery evening. Nothing untoward happens on the evening, the most unsettling things in Fran’s night being her having to spend the whole event trying to avoid one of the guests, and bumping into the host’s son, Adam, in a downstairs closet. Least said soonest mended. But when one of the guests dies unexpectedly, of a suspected poisoning, Adam fears his Mum, Sara, will become a prime suspect, and turns to Fran to help him prove her innocence.

Now a forty year old caterer and a twenty three year old software designer may not seem the most natural of bedfellows so to speak, but then Adam is no ordinary twenty-three year old, and the quirks in his character mean he finds it hard to connect to other people. He is a charming and persistent character who I grew to like very quickly. There is something so endearing about his honesty and his protective nature towards his mother. And with Fran being a natural mother, quite open in her own communication, they do really compliment each other perfectly. It is not quite mother and son, they work much as equals bouncing off each other, but you can feel Fran step up and step in when needed, being as protective of Adam as she is of her own daughter.

There is a real mystery at the heart of this book, one which kept me guessing to the end. The suspects come thick and fast, everyone from the other people at the murder mystery dinner, through to the victim, Becky’s own husband. Motives are thin on the ground, but the more they dig the more they start to uncover secrets which mean that almost anyone of them could be guilty. There are some very clever clues hidden in the narrative, ones that don’t become apparent until just the right time, meaning that the killer really is hidden in plain sight. And we are not talking about a couple of professional investigators here. These are people more in tune with homemade ice cream and virtual reality than they are the where and why fors of a murder investigation and hats off to Emma Davies who, once again, has written a book that had me craving yummy sounding food, this time a big healthy dose of tiramisu. I really do think she should work on that cook book …

I do love a local setting, and being very familiar with Shrewsbury and Shropshire, reading this book really made me smile. So many familiar places brought to life on the pages that it made it really easy to go on this adventure with Fran and Adam. The pacing is great, the sense of mischief rife as the pair stick their noses in places they really shouldn’t be. And as they start to close in on the culprit, the pacing, and the tension, kick up a notch, leading to a really chase to stop a further injustice from occurring. I felt the excitement grow in the characters, and the almost Miss Marple-esque revelations at the books conclusion were very satisfying.

I’ve loved meeting Fran and Adam and really look forward to seeing where they and the author lead us next. If you enjoy cosy crime with brilliant characters and a whole heap of mystery, then this book really could be for you. Such great fun. But you’ll have to excuse me. I’m off now. Suddenly hankering after some pudding …

About the Author

After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a forty something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life. It’s a county she adores, her love of its beautiful people and landscapes providing endless inspiration for her books, and in fact the only thing that would make Shropshire more idyllic is if it were by the sea.

Pop over to her website http://www.emmadaviesauthor.com where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car.

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