- Published in 2019 by HarperCollins
- Format: eBook
- Reading Time: 2 mixed days
- Decided to try this in eBook format again since there was an offer on Kindle when this was chosen by my book club. I don’t usually go for cosy mysteries without any supernatural elements so I didn’t want to take a risk on getting a physical copy for something I might not enjoy, especially under these conditions. This cosy mystery takes place in a remote estate in the Scottish Highlands where a group of friends (that really should have separated a long time ago) meet for their annual New Years’ Party. It was supposed to be the perfect getaway to ring in the New Year but things start to spiral downwards within hours of their arrival. Old resentments start to boil over and it all comes to a head when, on New Year’s Day, one of them turns up dead.
- Incredibly grotesque displays of wealth, privilege and rich people thinking they’re being so naughty by acting their shoe size rather than their age. I know it’s common that murder mystery characters aren’t all supposed to be likeable but it’s overdone in this book. It’s especially apparent during the hunting scene where the characters are eager to claim a trophy and show how ‘tough and grizzled’ they are when anyone can see they are anything but. So, a slight content warning regarding cruelty to and the death of animals for sport needs to be added to this book. As is a warning that you may overstrain your eyes with the number of times you’ll roll them.
- Very loathsome main characters (with the exception of Heather and Doug – I liked them a lot). I wasn’t three chapters in and I was already hoping that this would end like ‘And Then There Were None’. They are the classic Oxford education, born-with-a-silver-spoon-in-mouth insufferables who throw a hissy fit when everything isn’t just so and only stay friends out of habit rather than anything meaningful. That said, the narrators are fairly well developed even if their problems are meaningless and petty.
- Easy to read. I got to the end in two days but, if you have a free day and no distractions, you would probably be able to read it in one sitting.
- Rather good decision to not reveal who the victim was and to keep the reader guessing as to which of the tensions among the group would reach breaking point. There were certainly a lot of tensions to chose from including old grudges from university, marital infidelities and some white collar crime.
- The twist certainly was unexpected. There were few if no hints and the author did a good job of throwing us red herrings along the way.
- Incredibly stupid decisions being made as we get closer to the end. Idiot balls are being picked up like champagne at a New Year’s Party and the characters really make some horror-film-character-worthy poor decisions with predictably poor outcomes.
- Not at all happy that the killer had a mental disorder that directly motivated their actions. It’s a terrible, harmful cliche and made me lose a vast majority of the good will I had for this book. It would have been much better if the character with the mental disorder was the victim and the killer was someone who was ‘normal’. Much closer to reality.
- Good enough ending, though I still would have preferred it if all the rich insufferables died in the snow rather than just one. I’m marking this book as high as it did for style, character development and some good twists but it’s not getting any higher because of a very objectionable culprit and some horror-film-cliche tropes.
Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
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