Mystery authors, agents and their ilk become suspects in a mystery of their own.
When up-and-comer Kimberlee Kalder is dispatched at a writers’ conference at Scotland’s Dalmorton Castle, the question is less who killed her than who didn’t. The legion of suspects ranges from colleagues like histrionic Magretta Sincock, who fears she may be past her prime, to Jay Fforde, an agent whose interest in Kimberlee may have been beyond professional, to Donna Doone, event coordinator for Dalmorton Castle and aspiring (and who isn’t?) mystery writer. For DCI Arthur St. Just (Death of a Cozy Writer, 2008, etc.), concentrating on a murder investigation with local police officers Moor and Kittle is the farthest thing from his mind. Originally a conference panelist, St. Just is pressed into service to question mystery publishing’s finest, but the only thing he can think about is criminologist/author Portia De’Ath. At length this romantic subplot is upstaged by a series of obligatory interviews and eminently predictable plot twists. In the process, some suspects shine, but others fail to deliver the intrigue promised by their descriptions in the cast of characters. The one feature they all share is that everyone’s got secrets, and it’s up to St. Just to figure out just whose secrets were industry standards and whose were worth killing for.
A step down from Malliet’s bright debut, but still an entertaining diversion.