About the Book

Title: Murder is Easy (Superintendent Battle #4)
Published: 1939
Series: Superintendent Battle
Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Cover Story: Spiders and Poison and Dead Birds, Oh My!
BFF Charm: Eh
Talky Talk: Twist!
Bonus Factors: Cocktails!
Relationship Status: Just a Fling

Cover Story: Spiders and Poison and Dead Birds, Oh My!

This story has NOTHING to do with spiders, let’s just get that out of the way right now. However, poison does play a part in our tale of a small-town serial killer, and the dead bird is a clue too (although it’s a bit of a stretch). More on that later…

The Deal:

Our dashing protagonist for this tale is Luke Fitzwilliam. Recently retired from policing, Luke shares a train carriage with a lovely old woman who tells him she is coming onto town to unmask a small-town serial killer, turning the murderer in to Scotland Yard before they murder again. Luke nicely listens to the woman, and then goes about his business. Isn’t he surprised to read in the paper later on that this same woman has been run down by a car in London, and the man she was afraid was next on the killer’s list has wound up dead as well. Luke can’t help but be intrigued, and makes a plan with an old buddy (who just happens to have a cousin in this small village) to go investigate. He will pose as a distant cousin of his friend’s actual cousin, the lovely, and engaged, Bridget Conway. Things get crazier before they get better– pagan rituals, love triangles, and more bodies start to pile up in this book before it’s all over.

BFF Charm: Eh

BFF charm with a :-| face

Luke is nice and all, but I couldn’t really root for him like I root for some of Christie’s female leads, or for Hercule Poirot. I didn’t really care what happened to him over the course of this book, and it certainly seemed like he might be dumb enough to get himself murdered. ALL THAT WAS BEFORE I FOUND OUT: the PBS remake of this tale stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Luke! So now I’m suddenly a LOT more into this story…

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Surprise (read: Not A Surprise): Luke begins to have feelings for the beautiful Bridget, who is in a loveless engagement of her own design (she just wants to lay claim to the land and large house in the village which rightfully belonged to her family for generations). There is a tense conversation between them where he finally professes his love, and she leaves him hanging– but will she change her mind? You don’t have to read too much farther on to find out the answer to that question. Although there was a lot more swoon in here than normal for Ms. Christie, there is still not a lot to go on.

Talky Talk: Twist!

This book was blasted when it first came out for being a little too over-the-top unbelievable, with not enough clues to go on for the reader, and I have to say I agree. There’s a big twist at the end, but it’s actually not a solution you could wrestle out if you, intrepid armchair detective you are, were keeping up with clues.

Bonus Factor: Cocktails!

It’s the season on things blooming and growing here in Texas (and I’m not just talking mold and pollen, y’all). My amazing cocktail-making husband went out and gathered some dewberries by hand just north of our neighborhood (they’re kind of like a blackberry, but smaller). With these tasty little treats, he concocted a dewberry shrub (similar to last month’s strawberry shrub). We are using this in our cocktail this month! Here’s what you need to make your own dewberry cocktail to sip while you attempt to suss out the killer in this book:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Plymouth gin (it’s got the right flavor to go with this cocktail, so use it if you’ve got it!)
  • 1/2 oz. Suze (this is a French herbal apertif; find it at your local liquor store!)
  • 1/2 oz dewberry shrub (equal parts berries, sugar, and balsamic vinegar, allowed to sit for three days and then strained)
  • Sparkling wine

Stir all ingredients with ice; strain into your favorite cocktail glass and top with a splash of sparkling wine. This is a really refreshing drink that goes down almost as easy as all the victims in this book!

Relationship Status: Just a Fling

This book was a silly little time-passer. I’m not leaving anyone for you, book, and I doubt we’ll ever see each other again. Sorry, that’s just the way it’s got to be.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Murder Is Easy is available now.

About the Contributor:

Jill Brumer has been reading murder mysteries since she was old enough to wrap her hands around a Nancy Drew book. She can be found most days in Houston sewing or teaching others to sew.

This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.