Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good characters
Cons: Mystery gets too focused on one aspect of case
The Bottom Line:
Agent is murdered
And writer is clearly framed
Creative and fun
Mystery Author Framed for Murder by Her Own Manuscript
I’m sure every author dreams about seeing their work brought to life. However, mystery writers only want to see that happen in a movie, not in real life. For Charlee Russo, her book coming to true in real life becomes a nightmare in Fiction Can Be Murder.
This series debut introduces us to Charlee, a mystery writer in Denver. She has published a few books ever since she landed with her agent, Melinda. Melinda delights in being mean to people, so she has a long list of enemies.
In fact, it’s not that big a surprise when Melinda turns up dead. However, the method of murder points squarely at Charlee. Why? Because it is the method used in her most recent book, which won’t even come out to the public for over a year. Clearly, someone is setting her up. The potential suspects are limited to the members of her critic group and her first readers. But they are all people Charlee considers as friends. Could one of them really be a killer?
I was a bit worried early on as Charlee starts outlining the suspects to herself, and I began to wonder if I’d ever keep them all straight. I needn’t have worried. The plot is structured so that we can keep them all straight easily. It helps that the potential series regulars are also suspects, so we don’t need to remember all of them as well. Plus, the suspects are all distinct enough, which helps as well.
As the mystery unfolds, it quickly becomes clear that Charlee is focusing on one aspect of the mystery in order to clear her friends. While it was enough to keep the pages turning, I did wish that she would look at some other aspects. And yes, I’m being vague on purpose. Maybe it’s just me, but I did feel like we were missing a few of the twists a normal mystery would have as a result. Having said that, this book does have some good twists and a killer climax that grabbed my attention and didn’t let me go.
Having now met Charlee, I’m curious to see how else her life of writing mysteries can led to murder. Fiction Can Be Murder is a creative debut that will leave cozy fans ready for the next in the series.