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Invitation to Die (Emily Castles Mysteries) Paperback – May 14, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Emily Castles Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1477807306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477807309
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Invitation to Die is a quintessentially English murder mystery featuring an astutely drawn mix of larger-than-life characters... The book is very funny indeed... There seems to be a winning line on every page."  -The bookbag.co.uk

"An intelligent, likeable contemporary heroine and a clever plotline… Like a modern day Agatha Christie."  -Just a Normal Girl in London

"Quirky, whimsical, smart, and engaging... I flat-out loved it. A must-read for romance readers." -Connie Brockway, bestselling romance author and two-time RITA award winner

"Entertaining, gripping and fast paced with laugh-out loud moments." -Bookfabulous

"This book is full of great lines. I was giggling through the book." -Wall-to-Wall Books

Review

"I love Helen Smith's writing. Her brand of mystery, shot through with clever observational humour and the sharpest of wit, is something that's been missing from the genre for far too long."- Alex Marwood, bestselling author of The Wicked Girls. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

Customer Reviews

The characters were well developed and the plot was well thought out.
Deborah Leenutaphong
I have no problem in even recommending them for reading by junior high students who love mysteries.
P. Blevins
This book reads more like a cute and very long story to me than an actual novel.
Paige Harrison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By ~DJ Faz~ on March 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm updating my review because I've now read the entire book. I loved this story. I love the characters, I loved the hints, the clues, and the red herrings. I loved the twists and turns. I loved the setting: a romance writers conference. Buy this book. You won't regret it. Highly recommended!

My original review of Episode 1:
One of my favorite things about reading is getting a sense of how an author's mind works. I've read several of Helen Smith's books, and I've come to expect fun stories and fascinating characters. The first episode of Invitation to Die is already fitting the bill quite nicely.

From the opening paragraphs, we all know who is expected to "get it in the neck" (poor lady), but who, pray tell, will be doing the dirty deed? And why? Not to mention when and how?

What follows is an introduction to a marvelous cast of well-fleshed characters, each one with a quirk (or two) that could very well lead to the committing of a villainous act.

I'm delighted by the chosen setting for the story: a conference for romance writers. When a group of talented, creative, extremely ambitious women are thrown together, anything can happen. (And I mean anything. Believe me! I've attended my fair share of romance writers' conferences. The stories I could tell would curl your hair. Perfect setting for a murder mystery.)

The last serial I read was years ago, when The Green Mile was published in installments. I can remember arriving at the bookstore, impatiently standing by as the bookstore owner broke open the carton of books. I feel exactly the same now. I want episode two of Invitation to Die! And I want it now!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Lynda Birch on June 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful setting for a murder mystery - a murder at a Romance Writers of Great Britain conference. A cast of eccentric writers as the main characters and suspects, a British hotel as the setting, and a young female as the happenstance sleuth. Throw in a hint of romance and some humour and you have the recipe for a classic great read. One would think.

I only started to like this book about half way through. The way the characters are introduced at the start of the book just doesn't work for me. The introduction of each character, one at a time, bringing them all together at the conference didn't work. This is a method I find works well in a movie or television show but not as well in writing. It leaves me with a kind of stop, go, stop, go feeling. You are just getting into one character and that character's story when you are abruptly brought to the next character. As a result, I felt the tension in the story line was considerably reduced.

Once past the rather lengthy intros, the story line and cast of characters keeps you amused. Since this is a about a conference for authors and bloggers, there are some discussions around the ethics of writing, issues of race and the writing method.

If you like the Mrs. Pollifax stories by Dorothy Gilman or enjoy Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, you will probably enjoy this book. I prefer my murder mysteries to be a little less sedate and a lot more intense.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By New Girl on April 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having read both of the Emily Castle Mysteries, I was excited to read the new one and I think that the idea of it being a serial story is exciting. This first segment does a great job of setting up the story and introducing the characters. I love how Helen Smith creates these very real and very quirky characters in her stories. She has a wonderful ability to describe people and places so well that you feel like you are right there in the story. I am anxious to see more of Emily, who was only briefly introduced in this episode!

Now that the series is complete, I want to add to my original first episode review and give a better idea of the book as a whole. Every book in the Emily Castles Mysteries has painted a better picture of who Emily is. There is something very appealing about this character. She finds herself in these random and bizarre circumstances and yet remains inquisitive and unflappable. I think part of what I like the most about Emily is that she is so down to earth and "normal" and yet she is constantly surrounded by these eccentric personalities that are so well developed and described by Helen Smith.

It is not necessary to have read any of the other two Emily Castles stories to read and enjoy Invitation to Die but if you haven't I highly recommend that you check out Three Sisters (Emily Castles Mysteries) and Showstoppers (Emily Castles Mysteries). They are both great!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While I find it to be well written and very demonstrative and descriptive, I found the beginning to be slow and long in building the background and players involved. Sometimes it seems there was too much description and attention to details unrelated to the story or characters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Erin Al-Mehairi on March 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Oh my goodness, Helen Smith's first installment of Invitation to Die has the book off to a great start for me. I was sucked right in at the beginning and was left thinking...how...who...why...immediately. I liked how she introduced the characters seperately on their way to the venue; how we got to know each one and their different personalities. It reminded me of an Agatha Christie novel....great fun, a British mystery of the old fashioned variety with modern writing. I can't wait for the next installment!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Helen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. Her books have reached number one on Amazon's bestseller lists in the US, UK, Canada and Germany. They have been praised in The Times, The Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, Time Out and Wired.com and appeared on "best of the year" lists in For Books' Sake, The Cult Den, The Independent and the Guardian. Her books have been optioned by the BBC.

Helen Smith traveled the world when her daughter was small, doing all sorts of strange jobs to support them both -- from cleaning motels to working as a magician's assistant -- before returning to live in London where she wrote her first novel. Since then, she has read at literary events and festivals in London and New York and points in between -- including, most recently, a cruise ship en route to California via the Suez Canal. Her work has been read or performed at the National Theatre, The Royal Festival Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, Amnesty International's Headquarters, The Edinburgh Festival and The University of London. She's a Literary Death Match champion and the recipient of an Arts Council of England award.

Helen Smith is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, The Crime Writers' Association and English PEN.

"Smith is gin-and-tonic funny." Booklist

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Invitation to Die (Emily Castles Mysteries)
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