Flies in the Punch Bowl


HUMOR:  After being conned by a cunning art forger, Annabel Riley is mortified and desperate to repair her reputation.  After a string of high-profile art thefts from some of Seattle’s most prestigious residents, Annabel and her friends, Evan and Lyla, try their hands at amateur sleuthing, deciding to investigate the thefts themselves. Their inquiries lead to more questions than answers as they embark on a cloak and dagger style scavenger hunt, exposing more suspects than they bargained for. Eventually, their efforts yield results, but the friends may pay a high price for their pursuit of the truth and justice.

“Flies in the Punchbowl” is a brisk, energetic mystery, which is reminiscent of a caper style adventure.  Annabel and her cohorts are sharp-witted, utilizing their sly, occasionally droll, banter to keep the reader entertained, while the group brainstorms their next big move. This light mystery relies a bit too heavily on the dialogue, however, which can be exhausting at times.  There are also a few too many coincidences and a lack of any serious detective work going on. That said, for a debut novel, the story flows smoothly, moving at a quick enough pace to keep readers engaged from beginning to end. Hopefully, these fun characters, all of whom have great potential, will return for more original, wildly entertaining, madcap adventures in the future.   Recommended to all mystery lovers.

Julie Whiteley