Sunday, June 16, 2024

The Surprise Party

The Surprise Party by Julia Crouch
6/28/24; 324 pages

The Surprise Party by Julia Crouch is a highly recommended spin on a locked room murder mystery taking place on a Greek island.

Eve and her husband Will are taking a two week vacation to LoutrĂ², the Greek island village where they went for their honeymoon. They are there to celebrate her fiftieth birthday, but Eve wants to take this opportunity to tell Will something important she has needed to tell him for years and now is the time. Much to her chagrin, the next day the ferry arrives with her family and friends aboard. Will has apparently planned a surprise party for her and now her secret must wait.

Poppy, a young A&E doctor met Eve and Will on the ferry to the island and had dinner with the two that night. She is there with a secret of her own. Now she also gets pulled into the family's celebration and the murder investigation that follows. It is clear that almost everyone loves Eve but not so much each other.

Events move a little slowly at the beginning of this spin on a locked room murder mystery. Once the murder takes place, all the suspects are on the island and must stay there. Conveniently, Poppy speaks Greek and as a doctor helps the police, both as a translator and medically. This was just a bit too convenient, but easy to accept as the conflicts between family members explode. Once the pace picks up and the action and plot twists begin to happen the pages will fly by.

Characters in the novel are more caricatures of different types of people. Some are written to be disagreeable and some are likable. Eve and Poppy are the two narrators who share their points-of-view in the novel and are both likable characters. Will is a complete jerk right from the start and, along with the other characters that are clearly written to be disagreeable, readers will clearly expect poor behavior from all of them.

This is an entertaining locked-room murder mystery that explores the relationship between a mother and her children. 3.5 rounded up. Thanks to Bookouture for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.


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