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Dead and Gondola by Ann Claire features the Marpling sisters (referred to as such because of their Ms. Marple like sleuth skills), Ellie and Meg Christie, who run a bookshop set in the mountains of Colorado – an area accessible by ski gondola. This bookshop is a famous Book Chalet known for its endless bookshelves and relaxing atmosphere. However, when one bookshop visitor ends up dead on the gondolas the town gets shut down.
Once the visitor’s identity is made known, the Marpling sisters get to sleuthing. The town’s family secrets slowly start to come out and some people are not who they said they were.
What I Loved
I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie’s work, so when I heard the premise of Dead and Gondola, I had to read it. The entire book is filled with references to Christie’s works and her personal life (specifically her mysterious 11-day disappearance). But fear not, if you haven’t read any of the Queen of Mystery’s books or done a deep dive into her personal life, you will not be lost as to what is happening in this story.
It felt like Ann Claire was able to bring the nostalgia and coziness of Agatha Christie’s writing style to this book through the characters, setting, and pace of the novel.
Also, there’s a cat named Agatha C. (C is for cat), and how cute is that?
What I Would’ve Changed
Certain parts of the story felt rushed. I didn’t feel as connected to the characters as I wanted to, but there was enough backstory and intrigue that kept me reading. I also wish there was a little more suspense. However, this was still a binge-able cozy mystery that will leave you feeling like you want to open your own Book Chalet. Homemade hot chocolate recipe is absolutely required.
If you’re looking for an Agatha Christie-inspired, cozy mystery, with bookish galore set winter-wonderland setting all wrapped in one, this book is for you. I’m also excited that this is the first book in what will be a series! The next book up is Last Word to the Wise: A Christie Bookshop Mystery, set to release in October 2023. In the mood for other mystery books? Wondering if thrillers (and mystery books by relation) can even be feminist? Check out my interview with Halley Sutton were we talk about just that!