Books & Literature

Book Review: Murder Most Fancy, by Kellie McCourt

MYSTERY: She’s not responsible for the corpse this time. Okay, maybe just a little bit. Our favourite socialite and felon are back in a madcap new sleuthing adventure.

Disappointing.
3

This is the second novel by Kellie McCourt featuring Sydney socialite and absurdly named Indigo-Daisy-Violet-Amber Hasluck-Royce-Jones-Bombberg, and her sidekick Esmeralda. Perhaps it would have appealed to me more if I had read the first in the series, Heiress on Fire.

The action begins when Indigo, literally, falls over a corpse in her grandmother’s garden. She is currently living in the pool house there after a fire in her apartment that also killed her husband: the scenario of the first novel. It is a neighbour, Dame Elizabeth, who encourages Indigo and Esmerelda to investigate the death and discover who the victim really was when the police are content to label the man as homeless and bury him in a nameless grave. Meanwhile, grandmother wants the pair to find Dame Elizabeth’s missing beau.

As well as the somewhat inept detective work, there are sub-plots involving Indigo’s love life. Will she be humiliated again by her former teenage boyfriend if she lets him get close? What about the detective? He really is attractive, and she is definitely interested, but he did try to arrest her for murdering her husband. There are also the classic red herrings, with Esmerelda receiving cryptic notes and Dame Elizabeth’s family behaving oddly.

I do appreciate that it is supposed to be a satire about Indigo and her world; the wealthy woman who has never done a day’s work, spends money like water, and has a sense of entitlement to everything she already has and everything she wants. But the satire fails when it isn’t funny as the character is just too stupid and selfish to even poke fun at. The author contrasts Indigo with Esmerelda, an Asian-Australian who has had a tough life and is on parole and, officially, employed as a personal shopper. For entirely different reasons, both major characters are unbelievable and I didn’t care about either of them.

The author has written that she is a great fan of whodunnits, mentioning authors including Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell and Kerry Greenwood, with a particular penchant for comedy, murder mysteries, and hi jinks, such as those one finds in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels. I enjoy all of these authors, but Kellie McCourt has not won my admiration for this novel and if you too are a fan of Evanovich and Greenwood, be prepared to be disappointed.

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not necessarily of Glam Adelaide.

Distributed by: HarperCollins
Released: January 2022
RRP: $29.99

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