From the tip of his black Homburg to the crease in his cheviot trousers, he's the epitome of a stylish 1930s English gentleman. His only problem? The body he just discovered.
Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate. With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he’s learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime. Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be - not the butler nor blackmailer, the chauffeur nor embezzler. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer - and trying harder to impress Madeline - Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.
©2013 DeAnna Julie Dodson (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
“Rules of Murder” is the first book in a mystery series. The author Julianna Deering set the story in 1930s England. The book is a bit different in that we have a female author with a male main character. The book is written in the classic mystery style set by Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Arthur Conan Doyle. The author writes in a simple style and uses an active voice rather than passive. None of the prose is out of place or awkward, Deering keeps constant to the 1930 style of speech. Drew Farthering is the hero character, he is the wealthy heir to the Farlinford Processing Company his companion is Nick Dennison and Madeline Parker the American niece of Drew’s step father is the romantic item. They are all avid mystery fan readers and discuss Ronald Arbuthnot Knox, a Catholic Priest who came up with the 10 commandments for a detective novelist. In solving the murders at the Farthering home they mark off all the rules the current situation brakes. The story is written in a light style with humor, suspense and a glimpse of life in a wealthy English home of the 1930s. The book makes a delightful read and brake from more serious reading. The audio master Simon Vance narrated the book.
The good is: 1) the price - it was on sale, 2) the narrator - Simon Vance is one of the very best, and 3) the plot was plenty twisty in the end. The bad is: 1) the story was rather plodding and I almost gave up on it several times so almost didn't get to the end, 2) as other reviewers have mentioned, there is an inordinate amount of gratuitous religion and "preaching" that is not necessary to the story, 3) while I don't want to reveal any spoilers there are a number of instances that occur that make little sense as they are never totally explained or resolved, and 4) in the era this story took place, I have trouble imagining that young women would be allowed the freedom with the opposite sex that these girls apparently had.
All that being said, however, it was an okay read but I am afraid I am spoiled by the Christies, Allinghams, and Edmund Crispins etc. of the literary world. This one doesn't measure up by those standards.
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
"Rules of Murder" is the first of the Drew Farthering books, a new series which is set in England in the 1930's. It meets all the requirements for a British classic detective story -- a large country estate hosting a large party, a wealthy man playing detective (in connection with several murders at his large country estate), an investigating police superintendent who would very much prefer that the amateur sleuth stayed out of his way, a rather sweet love story, a loyal sidekick, a number of servants who don't realize they have important information, and red herrings galore.
Given that framework, Julianna Deering has created an engaging and intricate plot, and has peopled the book with intelligent characters who engage in intelligent, very often amusing, dialog. The amateur sleuth, Drew Farthering, is not, alas, an aristocrat, but this failing does not keep him from being bright, intelligent, eager and, of course, handsome. The plot is well-paced, and several red herrings kept this reader guessing.
As usual, Simon Vance's performance was superb.
I would recommend this book to fans of Sayers, Allingham or Marsh. While this may not be quite up to their standards, it will still entertain, and I believe that succeeding books will reach higher standards over time.
I agree with the first reviewer that Rules for Murder has all the marks of a classic British cozy, with the requisite country setting and dashing amatuer detective. I was put off, however, but the overt religious subplot. Not only because it doesn't belong in the genre, but because it felt like it was added after the story was written, possibly to appeal to the publisher, Bethany House. Turns out, however, the author (DeAnna Julie Dodson) has interjected her own religious philosophy onto a couple of the characters. It totally doesn't fit the story, and it turned me off to the series. Because of this, I have given the story only three stars. The publisher's summary should mention the name of the book publisher.
Simon Vance is one of my favorites and he is superb.
The story is both overly melodramatic and tedious. If Simon Vance wasn't reading it I would have quit hours ago.
I adore Simon Vance, and I suppose this is about as close as I'll ever come to listening to him read a phone book. His performances are always top-notch, even if the material is weak.
I think Anglophiles and anyone yearning for 1930's period drama with a little comedy and romance thrown in would enjoy this despite the repetitive and predictable mystery.
This was a mystery with twists and turns that kept me guessing. It is the first time I have read a mystery with a Christian theme that did not seem contrived. Good job!
This book was OK, but could have been better, some will like it but I did not, well written though and I sure some will like it, but for me not so much.
I don't usually listen more than once, but maybe I would in the future.
Yes. It was a long way into the book before I figured it out.
I don't know!
This book starts out by trying too hard to be a "Golden Age" mystery. Then the author got confused and thought she was writing a Harlequin book. The characters were all over the place but I understand why. They were trying to find the plot! All that being said, I did listen to the whole thing. I did spend a great deal of time talking to the characters using very bad words though! If more books in the series go on sale and Vance is narrating, I'll probably get them. I'd listen to Simon Vance read the phone book!
I've read a "ton" of British mystery stories, from Agatha Christie's "Poirot" and "Miss Marple", M.C. Beaton "Agatha Raisin"' Rhys Bowen's "Royal Spyness", and Kerry Greenwood's "Phryne Fisher" - just to name a few. I thought this would be another "veddy, veddy posh" romp. It wasn't. The characters just weren't well developed. And the mystery was predictable. The only good thing was narrator Simon Vance. He always delivers even reading the recipe for haggis - a very icky Scottish dish made from sheep heart, liver and lungs, onion, oatmeal, spices, and salt, encased in the sheep's stomach like a sausage casing. But I'd rather eat haggis than read this book! Icky!
My sympathies lie with Ronald Knox, who must be spinning in his grave. Having read all of Knox's detective fiction, I'm at a loss to know why there is so much religion in this book. Knox never put any into his. He did put his religious views into the books but as logic not as prayer or idiotic pleas to any god.
I'm sure this book has a plot, I was just unable to find it (as were most of the characters). By the time the book is over, so many people are murdered that it's obvious whodunnit. The writing is all over the place, clues are not well defined at all and I doubt this was written by anyone who had read any Golden Age books.
On that point, I doubt the "author" is English. There are points of etiquette in the book that are totally wrong - no Englishman of that era would take such liberties as calling a woman by her first name after a day or so of knowing her, let alone kissing her. It's all wrong. Also there is a passage in the gardener's cottage where there is a reference to "menfolk" - not an English term.
All (or nearly all) Knox's rules are broken which makes the title a bit silly.
The one saving grace is Simon Vance's narration and I'm not sure he would be proud of having read such drivel. The narration is perfect, well paced and well voiced.
I would suggest to this "author" that they read a LOT of English works before trying again, learn about plotting and leave the prayers out of it. They add nothing to the book. If one wants to write a book about sermonising, do so. If one wants to write a detective book, leave the prayers out of it.
This book was a sad disappointment. I'm surprised any publisher touched it without a lot of editing.
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