The Emily Castles mystery series is set in present-day London. It features twenty-six-year-old Londoner Emily Castles and her neighbor, eccentric philosophy professor Dr. Muriel Crowther. In Three Sisters, Emily goes to a party in a big house at the end of her street. She’s sure she witnesses a murder, but no one will believe her. She teams up with Dr. Muriel to investigate.
I had never read one of Helen Smith’s books before reading Three Sisters. Mysteries are not something I ordinarily read, but I decided to give this one a try. This novella is about 70 pages and didn’t take long to read at all.
Emily is invited to a party in her neighborhood. At the party we are introduced to some very colorful characters, and performers. We meet sisters that are knife throwers and brothers that are a little strange at times.
Things are not as they appear at this party, and Emily believes that a girl may or may not have been murdered. She is very determined that she is going to figure it out for sure, with a little help from Dr. Muriel (a neighbor also).
I found Three Sisters to be a short and fast read. It did take a little bit before I got used to the characters speaking in short and incomplete sentences. That’s just the way they spoke, but once I got used to that all went well.
I would have also liked to have known more about the characters and who they were and how Emily knew them. This would have added more flavor to their already interesting party.
In Showstoppers, Emily helps out at a local stage school run by her neighbor, Victoria. Soon she’s mixed up in a blackmail plot and two deaths. Emily and Dr. Muriel team up to prevent further a massacre live on stage during the end of term show.
I enjoyed reading this store much more than I did the first. I am sure it is because the mystery (action) starts right off the bat. Emily receives her neighbor, Victoria’s mail in her mail box, and takes it over to her.
Victoria begs Emily to open the letter and read it to her. It is a letter, among many, that she is receiving from someone who is threatening her. Emily is confused as to why Victoria will not report the letters to the police. Without really wanting or meaning to Emily is soon swept up into the mystery involving the letters.
We see more of Dr. Muriel in this story, which made it a lot more enjoyable. I also enjoyed the dry humor in this story. I look forward to Helen’s full length novel, Invitation to Die, an Emily Castle Mystery, which will be out in October 2013. I am sure then the characters in the Emily Mysteries will get the development that they deserve. I will be waiting.
Helen Smith is a member of the Writers Guild of Great Britain, The Crime Writers Association and English PEN. She traveled the world when her daughter was small, doing all sorts of strange jobs to support them both – from cleaning motels to working as a magician’s assistant – before returning to live in London where she wrote her first novel, which was published by Gollancz (part of the Hachette Group). She writes novels, children’s books, poetry, plays and screenplays, and was the recipient of an Arts Council of England Award. She likes dancing but she doesn’t like driving. She likes knitting.
Interview With Helen
Helen: I find it difficult to choose just one. But Agatha Christie is one of the authors I admire most. She was a woman, she wrote mysteries, she was prolific and she was successful.
Helen: The next book is called Invitation to Die. It’s the first full-length Emily Castles mystery and it will be published later this year.
10 winners will each receive a Kindle Ebook copy of Showstoppers & Three Sisiters