cover image Murder by Invitation Only: A Phyllida Bright Mystery

Murder by Invitation Only: A Phyllida Bright Mystery

Colleen Cambridge. Kensington, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-4256-8

Cambridge’s fun-enough third whodunit featuring Agatha Christie’s fictional housekeeper (after 2022’s A Trace of Poison) is an entertaining homage to Christie’s own works. Phyllida Bright is more than a servant to the bestselling author—their relationship is “one of mutual regard, much less employee and employer and more of friends assisting and supporting each other.” So when Christie becomes occupied in London, she asks Phyllida to accept a social invitation on her behalf. She’ll be summoned to Beecham House as a guest of the Wokesleys to participate in a staged murder mystery party, playing the part of suspect in the fictional slaying of Clifton Wokesley. Shortly after she arrives, however, Clifton is actually stabbed to death, and Phyllida once again finds herself thrust into the position of amateur sleuth. With the help of research Christie conducts in London, the housekeeper sets out to find Clifton’s killer, turning up motives from the assembled guests including hopes for an inheritance and anger over a failed business venture. Bolstered by Phyllida’s charm and pluck, the lively investigation arrives at a conclusion that’s well-clued but hardly surprising. Hardcore Christie fans will relish this solid, if unspectacular, closed-circle mystery. Agent: Maura Kyle-Casella, Don Congdon Assoc. (Oct.)