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Murder at Mallowen Hall (Phyllida Bright Mystery #1) by Colleen Cambridge

Murder at Mallowen Hall (Phyllida Bright Mystery #1)
Author: Colleen Cambridge
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery & Suspense
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: 2021
Pages: 274
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: The first in an exciting new historical mystery series set in the home of Agatha Christie!

      Colleen Cambridge's charming and inventive new historical series introduces an unforgettable heroine in Phyllida Bright, fictional housekeeper for none other than famed mystery novelist Agatha Christie. When a dead body is found during a house party at the home of Agatha Christie and her husband Max Mallowan, it's up to famous author's head of household, Phyllida Bright, to investigate...

 

      Tucked away among Devon’s rolling green hills, Mallowan Hall combines the best of English tradition with the modern conveniences of 1930. Housekeeper Phyllida Bright, as efficient as she is personable, manages the large household with an iron fist in her very elegant glove. In one respect, however, Mallowan Hall stands far apart from other picturesque country houses . . .

 

      The manor is home to archaeologist Max Mallowan and his famous wife, Agatha Christie. Phyllida is both loyal to and protective of the crime writer, who is as much friend as employer. An aficionado of detective fiction, Phyllida has yet to find a gentleman in real life half as fascinating as Mrs. Agatha’s Belgian hero, Hercule Poirot. But though accustomed to murder and its methods as frequent topics of conversation, Phyllida is unprepared for the sight of a very real, very dead body on the library floor . . .

 

      A former Army nurse, Phyllida reacts with practical common sense—and a great deal of curiosity. It soon becomes clear that the victim arrived at Mallowan Hall under false pretenses during a weekend party. Now, Phyllida not only has a houseful of demanding guests on her hands—along with a distracted, anxious staff—but hordes of reporters camping outside. When another dead body is discovered—this time, one of her housemaids—Phyllida decides to follow in M. Poirot’s footsteps to determine which of the Mallowans’ guests is the killer. With help from the village’s handsome physician, Dr. Bhatt, Mr. Dobble, the butler, along with other household staff, Phyllida  assembles the clues. Yet, she is all too aware that the killer must still be close at hand and poised to strike again. And only Phyllida’s wits will prevent her own story from coming to an abrupt end . . .


       My Review: Murder at Mallowen Hall is a murder mystery that revolves around Agatha Christie’s household staff. Phyllida Bright is Agatha Christie’s housekeeper. During a weekend party at Agatha house, Phyllida finds a dead body in the library. In order to find the killer, Phyllida and her staff observe the party guests to see which one is the murderer. Will Phyllida figure it out or will the murderer get away?


      I found it interesting that this new mystery series does not revolve around Agatha Christie herself but her household staff. Phyllida Bright is a major fan of Agatha Christie’s novels. She often references her works throughout the novel. Even though she is an employee of Agatha Christie, they have a close friendship. Phyllida looks up to her, and Agatha Christie feels more like her mentor. Phyllida is very bright and observant.  Her flaws that are mentioned throughout the novel is that she is prejudiced and mostly relies on first impressions. Nevertheless, Phyllida was a fun character.


       Overall, this novel is a combination of a classic Agatha Christie novel and Downton Abbey. I found the characters to be very interesting and fun. The murder mystery is pretty clever. Because there are many suspicious characters, I was pulled into many directions until the actual murderer was revealed. Because I did not suspect the murderer until the end, I found it to be surprising and delightful. I also loved the scenes with Agatha Christie! Thus, Murder at Mallowen Hall is a light cozy mystery that will be sure to please Agatha Christie fans! I am excited to read the sequel to see what happens next to Phyllida and the rest of Agatha Christie’s household staff! I recommend this novel for fans of Death Below the Stairs, Murder Will Out, and The Woman on the Orient Express!


Rating:  4 out of 5 stars


This is the official book trailer for Murder at Mallowen Hall:


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