Monday, 31 July 2017

Three Sisters by Helen Smith

Three Sisters by Helen Smith
Published by Tyger Books in February 2011.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the ebook from
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Free download offered via the BritCrime newsletter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Join twenty-six-year-old Emily Castles for her first outing as an amateur sleuth. Emily is invited to a party in a large house in London, hosted by a mysterious troupe of circus performers. She accepts, despite her misgivings, because her dog has died and she needs cheering up. But when she witnesses a murder in the midst of the surreal entertainment, no one will believe what she has seen. Is Emily befuddled with grief at the loss of her pet? Or has something wicked happened in plain sight? Emily teams up with her neighbours to investigate.

The short story Three Sisters was offered as a free download by its author, Helen Smith, to attendees of the BritCrime Ball in December 2015. I subscribe to the BritCrime newsletter as it is a great resource for keeping up to date with the latest in UK crime and mystery writing.

Three Sisters is a modern mystery story set in Brixton, an area of London that I have visited a few times so was able to easily picture, especially with the help of Smith's fabulous descriptions. She really does have a talent for amusing metaphor. Our heroine, Emily, is upset at the recent death of her beloved dog so chooses an apparently atypical action for her - attending an performance art party in an abandoned building at the end of her street. I loved the sound of this party with its circus acts and bizarre characters. Emily soon spots, however, that all is not as it should be and sets herself to exploring behind the curtains.

This is a short story so there isn't space for extensive character development, but, for once, that didn't really matter to me as I was swept up in Smith's beautifully described visuals. The is-it-or-isn't-it crime is neatly plotted and satisfying. I have already downloaded another of Smith's stories and look forward to reading it.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Helen Smith / Short stories / Books from England

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