Blurb: The fact that Katrina Pomeroy had been murdered was in and of itself a newsworthy event.
The fact that she had been murdered on Friday October 13th exactly eleven years after she’d been one of five teenagers to survive the Friday The 13th Massacre, made her passing worthy of notice by the national news agencies Jillian Hanford used to work for. When an old editor of Jillian’s offered her the chance to write a human interest piece about Katrina’s life and subsequent death, she jumped at the chance to re-launch her currently defunct career.
Of course in order to make the sort of impact she was after, she’d not only need to write about Katrina’s unusual life, but she’d need to answer the question of who was responsible for her death. She knew she’d need help so she decided to enlist the help of the five writers currently living at the writer’s retreat on Gull Island.
Jillian would soon discover a decade old secret covering a shocking truth that was better left unrevealed.
First Case is a cosy mystery set on the small island community of Gull Island.
I picked up references to a previous work whilst reading this book, but can confirm that it works perfectly as a stand-alone and series-starter without any fore-knowledge.
Personally I am a big Agatha Christie fan, and I picked up her influence in this story: from the gathering of amateur sleuths (each with their own special knowledge base) to the small pool of suspects, and the group confrontation. However this was not a ‘cover’ or pastiche, but rather a fresh mystery book making respectful nods to an elderly ancestor.
The gathered writers were somewhat underutilised in this plot, in favour of ‘Captain’ Jack and Deputy Savage, however this story served as a useful introduction to their individual talents and there is so much potential for their future input. My personal favourite character was, of course, Blackbeard the parrot. I loved his cryptic clues and felt they added a really interesting puzzle angle to the mystery (‘Pickles and cream’?!). Along with Mortie the maybe-ghost and Clara the possibly-psychic I felt that Blackbeard’s sentience was very cleverly presented to allow the reader to draw their own preferred conclusions.
The plot was well-paced and intriguing, providing plenty of opportunities for the reader to attempt to solve the mystery alongside Jill. Only the ending was somewhat abrupt and rushed (I actually assumed it was a red herring on the way to the final reveal and was startled to realise that it WAS the reveal!), which was a little bit anticlimactic after such a balanced story.
Overall though I thoroughly enjoyed First Case and look forward to reuniting with Jill and Blackbeard in Second Look in due course. A very promising series for fellow Christie fans!
“Rayleen Oswald was the first to die,” George shared in a raspy voice as thunder rumbled in the distance. “She was stabbed thirteen times and then propped against a tree that, eerily enough, would be struck by lightning before the horrific night had come to an end.”
– Kathi Daley, First Case
You can buy First Case on Amazon right now!
I previously mentioned Kathi Daley in my blog on Author newsletters last year.