Thursday, June 20, 2013

Invitation to Die by Helen Smith

It sounded like a promising premise: 

Who: A conference full of romance writers
What: A murder
When: The day the conference begins
Where: An upscale hotel in Bloomsbury
Why: Therein lies the mystery
How: Pushed off the hotel roof? 

Invitation to Die by British author Helen Smith was a recent Kindle deal. I was intrigued by the cast of characters - romance writers and bloggers  - and tossed caution to the wind and clicked Buy Now: $1.99.

American Winnie Kraster, book blogger of Tullulah's Treasures, wins a write-a-romantic-scene online contest. Her prize:  an invitation from author Morgana Blakeley to attend the Romance Writers of Great Britain conference to be held at the Coram Hotel in London. 

The only problem is that shortly after Winnie checks into the hotel, she is found murdered. Not a great way to begin a holiday.

Enter Emily Castles who has been hired as assistant to Morgana, head of the conference. With her notebook in hand, Emily begins recording what perhaps may be clues to Winnie's killer in between trying to look after the conference attendees and the writers. 


Was it Pam, the ever-prolific romance novelist? Or could it have been one of the three judges for the contest - Cerys, Zena or Archie (who writes under the name of Annie Farrow)? Maybe it was the literary agent, pompous Lex ?  Or the new manager of the hotel, arrogant Nik? Could it even have been the maker of fine chocolates M. Cyril Loman - he of the violet cremes?

Well, I don't know quite yet Who Killed Winnie as I am a little over halfway through the story. The action jumps from one scene to another as the clues mount up. There are some good-natured jabs at writers, bloggers, and just about anyone else Ms. Smith can get her hands on.  

Invitation to Die is one of the three (so far) Emily Castles mysteries.  As far as I can tell, they are all published as ebooks. This one has made for a pleasant bedtime read.


  1. Mmm...sounds like a fun mystery. I like the premise...romance writers and murder. Can it get any better?

    1. It moves along, Lark. I think Ms. Smith could have used an editor - the action is a bit disjointed in places - but for a 'bedtime story' the book is light and funny.