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The premise reminds of Agatha Christie's And then there were none
Twelve people in an estate … by the morning, who of them will be gone?

And who'll have survived the nightly murder party and follow Agatha Benedict in her wake
By becoming the new heir of the landhouse? Discover it in this book with a humorous take



It starts really well …

The blurb promises an enthralling story laced with humour.
And in the beginning the book lives up to this expectation. Some of the main characters are introduced one by one. Although they're represented quite caricatural, the author manages to evoke suspension of disbelief thanks to good dark humour.


But then there's the will reading

As estate owner Agatha Benedict passed away, the traditions of the Benedict Estate prescribe that a will reading is to take place. All persons showing up will have to fight their way through the night. The one who still stands in the morning will inherit everything.

And it's at the exact moment of the will reading that the author begins to lose the attention of the reader.
There are too many characters at once from who only a handful gets to speak and another handful wasn't properly introduced yet in the former chapters. That's why it begins to feel like they're only staged when the author think it's required for the story and totally forgotten at other times.
On top of that, the characters don't seem to get their own distinctive voice, which makes them exchangeable.
When their reactions are increasingly implausible, the cardboard impression they give becomes totally complete and the reader couldn't care less what happens to them anymore.


The bad pacing

A book with such a good premise and start, should be unputdownable and spark the reader's interest at any time.
Sadly, this isn't the case because of a serious problem with the pacing.
Every time the reader suspects some action, (s)he first has to struggle through long descriptions of the room. What does it matter what sort of furniture stands there or how the ceiling is decorated?
It's understandable that those kind of extensive descriptions appear at the beginning of the story, to create a certain atmosphere and at the same time give the reader an insight in the decor where the action will take place.
But once the plot is well underway - and especially on decisive moments - it's only slowing down the whole and can be considered as pure page-filling.


And the editorial errors

Last but not least, this book needs a good editorial review.
As this was an ARC, it may already have occured. But if not, it's highly recommended.
Sentences that aren't correct, synonyms featuring beside each other, … contribute to a less smooth reading experience.


Conclusion

Although the basis of the story is implausible, the author manages to evoke suspension of disbelief in the beginning.
It's too bad that this couldn't be maintained throughout the entire story.
But as this is only Ian Kirkpatrick's debut and she proves to have real potential in the humorous field, she's definitely an author to keep an eye on.



*Thanks to NetGalley and Steak House Books for providing a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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