Murder At Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge is a cozy mystery set in Devon, England in 1930. Phyllida Bright is Agatha Christie’s housekeeper who not only runs the household with strict precision, she also is super fan of the author who devours crimes novels in her spare time while relaxing in her sitting room with her two cats and swooning over the brilliance of Hercule Poirot. When Phyllida discovers a dead body in the library, her curiosity kicks into gear and she sets about solving the mystery (despite the protests of the actual police), all while still running the Mallowan household. Phyllida has no easy task on her hands as there are many guests staying at Mallowan Hall. That means there are numerous suspects.
Once the dead man is identified as a guest who arrived under false pretenses, Phyllida must figure out which one of the guests at Mallowan Hall is a murderer. Combine house guests and the large number of staff that it takes to run the household and there are a lot of characters to keep track of which is particularly challenging in the first half of the story. Seeing as this book is the first of a series, it will be interesting to get to know these characters more in future books and also get some more insight into Phyllida’s past, most interestingly, why she is so secretive about it.
Fans of Agatha Christie will appreciate “Murder At Mallowan Hall” as an homage to the great author’s works. The setting is delightful and I am personally a sucker for a murder mystery set in a large historic manor house. The story itself has an intriguing cast of characters and plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes historical cozy mysteries, Agatha Christie novels, Downton Abbey and Clue. I created a warm drink called an English Hot Toddy that is the perfect accompaniment to this cozy book. Drink it while you try to solve the mystery of the “Murder At Mallowan Hall.”
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