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Murder by Invitation Only (A Phyllida Bright Mystery #3) (Hardcover)
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This is book number 3 in the A Phyllida Bright Mystery series.
In this engaging historical mystery, Agatha Christie’s ever-capable housekeeper, Phyllida Bright, not only keeps the celebrated author’s English country home in tip-top shape, she excels as an amateur sleuth. But when a murder-themed game goes awry, can she outfox the guilty party?
“A murder will occur tonight at Beecham House . . .” Who could resist such a compelling invitation? Of course, the murder in question purports to be a party game, and Phyllida looks forward to using some of the deductive skills she has acquired thanks to her employer, Mrs. Agatha, who is unable to attend in person.
The hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Wokesley, are new to the area, and Phyllida gladly offers their own overwhelmed housekeeper some guidance while events get underway. Family friends have been enlisted to play the suspects, and Mr. Wokesley excels in his role of dead body. Unfortunately, when the game’s solution is about to be unveiled, the participants discover that life has imitated art. Mr. Wokesley really is dead!
In the absence of Inspector Cork, Phyllida takes temporary charge of the investigation, guiding the local constable through interviews with the Murder Game actors. At first, there seems no motive to want Mr. Wokesley dead . . . but then Phyllida begins to connect each of the suspects with the roles they played and the motives assigned to them. It soon becomes clear that everyone had a reason to murder their host—both in the game and in real life. Before long, Phyllida is embroiled in a fiendishly puzzling case, with a killer who refuses to play by the rules . . .
About the Author
Colleen Cambridge is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Phyllida Bright Mysteries, the first of which, Murder at Mallowan Hall, was an Indie Next Pick and Agatha Award finalist. An accomplished historian whose meticulously researched novels appeal to fans of historical fiction and mysteries alike, she also writes under the pennames C.M. Gleason and Colleen Gleason. She lives in the Midwest and can be found online at ColleenCambridge.com.
Praise for Colleen Cambridge’s Phyllida Bright Mysteries
“Cambridge weaves in just the right amount of historical detail and references to classic Christie novels while placing Phyllida and her intelligent sleuthing skills front and center…Fans of traditional mysteries will appreciate the author’s sometimes tongue-in-cheek adherence to the conventions of the genre, particularly the denouement where all is revealed. Dame Agatha would be proud.” —Publishers Weekly on A Trace of Poison
“Cambridge balances Downton Abbey–style period charm with a tight plot that twists and turns right until the end, with utter believability…The real-life historical players make only brief cameos, but Cambridge creates such a compelling cast of fictional characters that they are hardly missed. Reminiscent of Jessica Ellicott’s ‘Beryl & Edwina’ series, this novel will please readers with itshistorical world and a plot that would satisfy Poirot.” —Library Journal on A Trace of Poison
“Cambridge takes inspiration from several of Christie’s most celebrated novels in devising her agreeably intricate plot.” —Kirkus Reviews on A Trace of Poison
“Charmingly told, with a full upstairs-downstairs cast of guests and servants, Murder at Mallowan Hall is a wonderful mystery by Colleen Cambridge…Fans of Agatha Christie, historical fiction and fierce female leads are all sure to enjoy Murder at Mallowan Hall.” —Shelf Awareness on Murder at Mallowan Hall
“It’s obvious Cambridge had a blast writing the book, set in 1930s Devonshire, and her fun is infectious. Phyllida is a confident first-time detective, modeling herself on her hero, Christie’s Hercule Poirot, who outshines all suitors who have come her way. Phyllida’s smarts and assurance don’t save her from making mistakes, some of which delay solving the case. Paced at a gallop, it’s an entertaining read. Recommended.” —Historical Novel Society on Murder at Mallowan Hall
“Two words describe this book: absolutely delicious…Murder at Mallowan Hall is a near-perfect traditional mystery.” —First Clue
“[A] solid series launch from Cambridge…Readers will want to see more of the clever Phyllida.” —Publishers Weekly on Murder at Mallowan Hall
“An entertaining whodunnit.” —Toronto.com on Murder at Mallowan Hall
“Colleen Cambridge has done her homework on English society and provides us with a clear picture of her characters, where they live, and how they act. She does well at capturing the era with all the right language and dialects. It’s a good cozy to read with a cup of tea on the patio.” —New York Journal of Books on Murder at Mallowan Hall
“A delicious combination of Downton Abbey and a meta-play on a Christie novel (obviously, The Body in the Library). The Downton Abbey bit is Cambridge’s attention to 1920's domestic detail and the way Mrs. Bright runs the household...Agatha Christie the character plays a very peripheral part in the proceedings, but Agatha Christie the writer haunts every page of this delightful book that both pays homage to the Queen of Crime, but also embroiders on her work with a fresh character and a fresh look at a part of her life. This is a wonderful series debut.” —Mystery Scene Magazine on Murder at Mallowan Hall
"What if Agatha Christie’s housekeeper was the best detective of all? In this delightful book, she is! You will love watching Phyllida spot the clues the authorities miss when a dead body shows up in Agatha’s library. An outstanding start to what promises to be a winning new series." —Victoria Thompson, USA Today Bestselling Author of Murder on Wall Street on Murder at Mallowan Hall
“Cambridge pens a thoroughly intriguing mystery, told in a unique manner from the perspective of the staff belowstairs rather than the upper class above, in this splendid first installment in a new series. Her heroine, Phyllida Bright, is the confident, shrewd, and eminently capable housekeeper for none other than the grand dame of mystery herself—Agatha Christie—and a great admirer of Christie’s fictional detective Poirot, whose methods she seeks to emulate. Fans of Tessa Arlen and Jennifer Ashley will be delighted.” —Anna Lee Huber, bestselling author of the Verity Kent Mysteries on Murder at Mallowan Hall
"Agatha Christie’s indomitable and mysterious housekeeper Phyllida Bright takes on a killer in this exciting new series from Colleen Cambridge. Fans of historical mysteries—and Christie herself—will love this well-imagined homage, and the clever twists and numerous suspects will keep readers on their toes. I’m already looking forward to Phyllida’s next adventure!" —Erica Ruth Neubauer, author of the Jane Wunderly Mysteries on Murder at Mallowan Hall
"Amazing period details, clever clues, and plot twists abound. Colleen Cambridge has fashioned a delightful mystery from beginning to end for Agatha Christie fans." —D.E. Ireland, author of the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mysteries on Murder at Mallowan Hall
“[A] solid series launch…Readers will want to see more of the clever Phyllida.” —Publishers Weekly on Murder at Mallowan Hall