A Cozy Whodunit with a Dash of Nostalgia

3.5 stars.

Murder at Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge is a cozy mystery set in the English countryside. The story follows Phyllida Bright, the housekeeper for the famous author Agatha Christie. Phyllida is loyal to and protective of Christie, who is as much a friend as an employer. When a dead body is discovered during a house party at the home of Agatha and her husband Max Mallowan, Phyllida leads the charge to solve the murder, using her keen observation skills and knowledge gleaned from Christie’s novels.

The atmospheric setting captures the essence of a grand manor house with a cast of intriguing characters. Phyllida’s interactions with the staff and guests are engaging, and her sleuthing adds a fun twist. As a former Army nurse, Phyllida reacts with practical common sense to the body on the library floor. It soon becomes clear that the victim arrived at Mallowan Hall under false pretenses. Now, Phyllida not only has a houseful of demanding guests and a distracted, anxious staff to manage but also hordes of reporters camping outside. When another dead body is discovered—this time, it’s one of her housemaids.

However, the pacing is slow, and some plot points feel predictable. The mystery itself, while enjoyable, lacks the complexity found in Christie’s own works. Overall, at just 272 pages, Murder at Mallowan Hall offers a pleasant escape for fans of traditional whodunits but falls short of being truly gripping. While not a huge fan of cozy mysteries, I found this one not bad.

** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy. The opinions are my own.

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