Author: Janice Hallett

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Publisher: Atria Books

Publication Date: January 25, 2022

Book Description: Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Lisa Jewell, this “dazzlingly clever” (The Sunday Times, London) murder mystery follows a community rallying around a sick child—but when escalating lies lead to a dead body, everyone is a suspect.

The Fairway Players, a local theatre group, is in the midst of rehearsals when tragedy strikes the family of director Martin Hayward and his wife Helen, the play’s star. Their young granddaughter has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and with an experimental treatment costing a tremendous sum, their fellow castmates rally to raise the money to give her a chance at survival.

But not everybody is convinced of the experimental treatment’s efficacy—nor of the good intentions of those involved. As tension grows within the community, things come to a shocking head at the explosive dress rehearsal. The next day, a dead body is found, and soon, an arrest is made. In the run-up to the trial, two young lawyers sift through the material—emails, messages, letters—with a growing suspicion that a killer may be hiding in plain sight. The evidence is all there, between the lines, waiting to be uncovered.

A wholly modern take on the epistolary novel, The Appeal is a “daring…clever, and funny” (The Times, London) debut for fans of Richard Osman and Lucy Foley.

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: A closed door mystery in all epistolary style set in a small English town. Two detectives are asked to help solve a murder but all they have are some email exchanges and text messages between a small community theater group.

Additionally, there is a second mystery, which really feels very predominant of “The Appeal” for Poppy, a two year old girl diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. When the community learns of this girls diagnosis they get together to help raise the vast amount of money that the family needs to import drugs from the United States, but not every thing feels quite kosher with this.

This very much felt like any episode of Midsomer Murders. Very quaint, and involving a finite number of characters and suspects. The author is really great at giving absolutely nothing away. In fact, you do not even know who was murdered until the last quarter of this book.

I could not put this book down. It moves very quick because of the epistolary form. There are a ton of characters, but I found it very easy to understand each of their roles in this savvy story. Very fun book, that you will not want to miss.

Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

Posted by:Lauren A.

You really can say I am an obsessed reader as I read 200-300 books per year. I love Literary Fiction, Memoirs (I don't really care what kind), Mysteries and Thrillers. Once in awhile I will thrown in some YA and Romance. When I am not reading, I am a Sales Engineer for a software company, and I take care of my three cats with my husband. I love music, which my college degree is in. Looking forward to share my thoughts on all things reading.

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