cover image Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect

Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect

Benjamin Stevenson. Mariner, $30 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-327907-0

Stevenson’s brilliant and creative second closed-circle mystery featuring author Ernest Cunningham (after Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone) toys with golden age mystery tropes while delivering its own hugely satisfying whodunit. Cunningham’s published account of the murders detailed in the previous book has netted him an invitation to the 50th Australian Mystery Writers’ Festival. He’s been asked, along with five much-better-known authors, to be a panelist aboard the Ghan, a luxury train whose route bisects the Australian desert. Soon after the journey starts, one of the writers turns up dead, and each of the train’s other panelists—including Cunningham himself—becomes both suspect and sleuth. As the investigation unfolds, Stevenson plays scrupulously fair: as in the previous book, Cunningham addresses readers directly, promising “to be that rarity in modern crime novels: a reliable narrator.” Even before the first murder, he reveals that a comma will be a crucial clue, and that there will be more than one victim. Dashes of humor (while introducing his fellow panelists, Cunningham pokes wicked fun at the publishing industry) light the way as Stevenson charges toward the deliciously clever final reveal. This is another triumph from a gifted genre specialist. Agent: Pippa Mason, Curtis Brown. (Jan.)