The Severn family gathers at the mountain home of their grandmother, Mary Agnes Severn, to celebrate Thanksgiving and to hear the reading of their late grandfather’s will. As the family begins to gather, the local sheriff, Roger Dickerson, brings the family news of an escaped convict from the Alexander Carr Psychiatric Correctional Facility. With a huge snowstorm on its way, the family settles in to the large old house – lit with only gas lamps and lanterns to keep the darkness away.
As the snowstorm comes barreling in, the family becomes isolated. Then the servants are murdered, one by one. There’s a killer in the house…but who? Everyone has a motive. Everyone has the means.
This book was not what I was expecting. Given the blurb at the back of the book and the title, one would assume that it would be foremost a mystery/suspense story. Instead, it almost was as if it was a humor-driven storyline, since the antics were nothing like what one would expect in a mystery. Despite this, I will admit that I was stumped as to who the murderer was right up until the end.
The story begins with an old-fashioned feel to it. I think setting the scene is important for readers to understand when and where the story takes place. Unfortunately, we are never really told much about time and place. At times, I was convinced that this may have been set 100 years ago based on what was being said and done, only to find modern phrases and actions thrown in to the mix.
It took me nearly ¼ of the book to start getting into the story. It’s disjointed and overloaded with characters right from the start. Part of the problem is that the story reads like a screenplay with it being told nearly entirely told in dialogue. This wouldn’t have been so bad had there been only a few characters. Unfortunately, there was a multitude of characters to go along with the endless dialogue.
The author also makes reference to people or things that I as a reader had no idea what he was talking about. Kathy Griffin concert? Logan’s Run? As a reader, without any explanation as to who or what these things were, I felt lost.
Overall, this book was a miss for me, but I think that people who aren’t typically a fan of mystery/suspense may find the humorous approach entertaining.
A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.