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Rules of Murder (A Drew Farthering Mystery) Paperback – August 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Deering's historical mystery, set in 1930s England, has all the elements of a good story, but they don't sum up to a fresh whole. Andrew Drew Farthering and his friend Nick—son of Farthering Place's intrepid butler, Dennison—team up in Hardy Boys–esque intrigue with their era-appropriate Nancy Drew, Madeline, to uncover the perpetrator of a series of heinous crimes. Blatant clues are showered on the reader like annoying confetti as the rather predictable plot meanders to its obvious conclusion. Lovingly detailed period couture description and cultural references provide some relief from stilted, repetitive dialogue and unlikable characters. When not coming off as utterly patronizing and as a caricature of British gentility, Drew wears his affected mannerisms like a badge of honor. While Madeline has the makings of a sympathetic female lead, she appears simpering and weak. Matters of faith are given lip service before being relegated to the literary cupboard in favor of imagined mysteries, gratuitous murders, and flirting. This is Downton Abbey meets Saturday Night Live. Agent: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency. (Aug.)

From the Back Cover

Introducing Drew Farthering

From The Tip of his black Homburg to the crease in his stylish cheviot trousers, he's the epitome of a stylish 1930s English gentleman. His only problem? The body he just discovered.

Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate.

With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he's learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime. Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be--not the butler nor blackmailer, the chauffeur nor embezzler. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer--and trying harder to impress Madeline--Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.


"Readers will want to carve out uninterrupted time to read this mystery in one sitting. Red herrings at every turn will have them guessing and flipping pages until the shocking end." --RT Book Reviews

"Julianna Deering gives us an enchanting mystery set around an England country estate in the 1930s. The main characters are delightful." -- Fresh Fiction

"In the same vein of an Agatha Christie novel, Julianna Deering gives us a unique and extremely fun read that will have you trying to solve the murder along with Drew and his friends...What a refreshing addition this is to the Christian fiction market!" - Rachel McRae, A Novel Bookshelf

"Rules of Murder is an entertaining and engaging mystery that will please readers of thrillers and well as historical fiction... The conclusion is a surprising twist that leaves the reader feeling satisfied." --The Christian Manifesto
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Product Details

  • Series: A Drew Farthering Mystery
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (August 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764210955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764210952
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #723,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Connie & Angie L on September 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Rules of Murder is a 1930s murder mystery, and the first in the Drew Farthering Mystery series, by Julianna Deering.

Drew Farthering returns home to his English countryside estate of Farthering Place just in time for one of his mother Constance's weekend bashes.

And his room is occupied by one of the guests.

But ever the stylish gentlemen, he removes the unwanted visitor from his room promptly and at the prodding of his kind stepfather and estranged mother, joins the party.

Things take a turn, however, when a body is found.

A lover of mysteries on the page, Drew finds it a bit more difficult in real life - but enlists the help of his best friend Nick, son of the butler, and as-intelligent-as-she-is-beautiful Madeline, the visiting American niece of his stepfather.

Together they try to piece together the clues to what could have happened on his otherwise peaceful grounds and realize that murder is no game...

I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie. I adore her murder mysteries, which are so intricately crafted and feature such excellent sleuths/detectives! I have nowhere near read them all, but I hope to someday.

Rules of Murder sounded like it was nostalgic to those novels, and there's even a blurb on the front cover (a cover I quite like, actually) that specifically stated that ardent fans of Agatha Christie would be satisfied in this book.

I'm sure that's true... of some.

Personally, I wouldn't go that far.

Rules of Murder had a feisty start with just enough detail to let my imagination go to work on Farthering Place. It had a fun, large estate feel. Quickly the tone was enjoyable and light, but sometimes lacking in weight.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Raya on August 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
A suitable setting for the cozy mystery genre, the novel takes place in England in the 1930's. Ellison Andrew Farthering, alias Drew, returns home to his estate to find his mother and stepfather hosting a house party and business meeting, with guests from America arriving the next morning. While Drew squires his stepfather's American niece, Madeline Parker, about the grounds later on, they stumble upon the dead body of one of the house guests. Embezzlement, blackmail, and red herrings abound as Drew, his best friend Nick, and Madeline investigate the murder, with the help of the local police.

I should like to point out that while I never skip ahead to read the end of the book, occasionally I do skip ahead to the author's note, if they have one, as it usually includes a bit of historical or otherwise interesting information relating to the book, and usually it doesn't include key plot points to ruin the story. Thus I found out the importance of Father Knox's Decalogue of Detective Fiction (10 commandments of mystery writing) before reaching the end, and thus was enlightened as to why it featured so prominently in the text. Naturally other authors have deliberately broken all the rules of mysteries before, but Deering manages it in a highly amusing and almost satirical way, given Nick's running commentary about it.

Being a mystery and not a suspense, this novel is not written to thrill or scare, but to lay out sufficient clues to solve the murder yet still hopefully surprise the reader. I thought myself so clever early on, having caught on to a glossed-over clue, but while it was highly important, I still interpreted it wrong and didn't beat Drew to the murderer. Good job, Julianna Deering!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Estrada on July 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
It's refreshing to read a classic mystery along the lines of Agatha Christie. I'm not one to typically go after a book set in 1930s England, but I found the author's setting and time fascinating. She's obviously done her research, and the mannerisms and dialogue fit the period well. The characters were my favorite element of this book. The protagonist is a rich young sort-of-playboy who falls for a charming American girl who is visiting her uncle, who happens to be the protagonists step-father. Those two characters alone are enough to make it a good story, but with the addition of Nick, the protagonist's best friend who also happens to be the butler's son, the author rounds out the cast perfectly. The setting, a country estate in a small England town, is also well done. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found I couldn't put it down after the first few pages. I can't wait to see more from this author! I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher for review but am under no obligation to provide positive feedback.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Beth Strand on August 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I love period pieces and mysteries so it required no thought when asked if I wanted to review Julianna Deering's "Rules of Murder." Dapper Drew Farthering and his faithful friend, Nick, love a good mystery. They know all the rules to good mystery writing...the butler, for instance, is never the bad guy and a good writer should never resort to a "mysterious foreigner." It seems, however, that when murder comes to call in Drew's real life that the rules he holds so dear do not apply. With help from his new friend, the lovely Madeline Parker, Drew must discover the secret that caused the elusive killer to strike. Even if that secret may jeopardize his chance at future happiness.
Julianna Deerling brings together a lovely cast of characters for "Rules of Murder." Fresh and entertaining, this book has a "Miss Marple" quality to it that I thoroughly enjoyed. The conclusion is well done and I would certainly read another. My only criticism would be that there were a tad too many murders for me. I like my "who-dun-its" to focus a little more on the detection than the next murder. Other than that, this was a nice little mystery and all the nicer for the fact that you can pass the book to a high school or middle school reader without wondering how appropriate it is.
This book was provided to me by Bethany House for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own!
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