GPL Blog

Book Review | How to Solve Your Own Murder by Kristen Perrin

From the publisher: For fans of Knives Out and The Thursday Murder Club, an enormously fun mystery about a woman who spends her entire life trying to prevent her foretold murder only to be proven right sixty years later, when she is found dead in her sprawling country estate…. Now it’s up to her great-niece to catch the killer.

How to Solve Your Own Murder has been called the biggest debut of 2024. It’s the first book in the Castle Knoll Files. In a familiar pattern, the book moves between passages from a diary set in the 1960s and narration by Annie, the main character set in the present.

It’s 1965. Frances is 17 and at the Castle Knoll Country Fair with Rose and Emily, her two best friends. She receives a fortune that will change her life. Like most fortunes received from fortune-tellers at a country fair, it is filled with nonsense that can be interpreted in many ways. But Frances can’t shake it. It also includes the dire warning that “All signs point toward your murder.” In what seems to me to be something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, she becomes obsessed with her fortune. And sixty years later, she is murdered.

The obsession with a fortune that later comes true is a nice twist. Otherwise, the book is familiar in a comforting way. If you like cozy mysteries, it will probably remind you of books, TV shows, and movies. There are a lot of characters and I could have used a list of them and how they are related. I had an especially hard time keeping the men of the past straight. There are hints at a future romance for Annie. Annie also devises a too-stupid-to-live plan to catch the murderer, which works, but I hope that does not become a pattern. The author does her best to sell her red herrings and misdirection, perhaps to excess.

Still, it’s a fun book, and I’ll probably read the sequel. The cover is very eye-catching.

I read an advance reader copy of How to Solve Your Own Murder from Netgalley. It is scheduled to be released on March 26 and will be available at the Galesburg Public Library.