Whodunnit? Murder in Mystery Manor (Whodunnit #1) and Whodunnit? Murder on Mystery Island (Whodunnit #2)
by Anthony E. Zuiker
From the creator and executive producer of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise and the murder mystery TV show Whodunnit comes two brilliantly written novels free on Audible!
Synopsis from Goodreads
A grand estate. Ten unsuspecting guests. A diabolical game of life and death…
Ten excited guests arrive at the Westlake Estate, expecting a lavish retreat. They are the winners of a sweepstakes to “Live Like a Billionaire for a Week.” But what was supposed to be a promising escape soon turns into a horrific nightmare.
Within hours of arrival, the guests sit down for an extravagant dinner. When they pull their party poppers as instructed, a loud chorus of bangs resounds, followed by earsplitting screams as the guest seated at the head of the table bursts into flames and slumps to the floor. The others are told they must solve the crime or be the next victim.
The killer, their diabolical host, is hiding among the frightened guests. Is the murderer the well-toned trophy wife, the retired deputy sheriff, the stoned college dropout, or perhaps the sweet, homely grandmother? The killer toys with them, inviting the guests to explore the lavish estate, from the stables to the hedge maze, in an effort to uncover the gory details of how the murderer pulled off such a gruesome murder.
Alliances are forged carefully and information is shared warily, since none of the remaining guests knows whom to trust. The next to die a hideous death will be the one with the least accurate solution to the latest murder. In the end, only three guests will remain: the winner, the loser, and the killer.
The two novels are very similar–guests arrive, one of them is the killer, killer kills off the guests who do the worst figuring out the previous murder. However, they are different enough to keep you interested through both, so long as you enjoy the general premise. In the first novel, the guests are strangers. Suspicion and accusations run high. Fingers are pointed at a variety of people. In the second novel, the guests all work for the same company. They are the top performer from each department and the ending has an interesting twist not seen in the first book.
The murders are complicated and creative. Many are designed with a red herring to throw you off. A guest bursts into flames, but was really caused by a gunshot or was stabbed but really poisoned. While I rarely attempted to piece together the murder, I did figure out who the killer was in both novels. Periodically om the fence, flip flopping between two people, I had it figured out within the first 3 murders for both novels if I’d have gone with my gut. I had it figured out for sure five murders before the end.
Both novels are 4 out of 5 stars. What was missing for me–motive. Why these people? Why would you kill off top performers at your company? What happened in the murderer’s life that would cause them to come up with this twisted game? It reminded me a little of the SAW series, but without the back story.
If you’ve never tried Audible, these are the perfect books to test the waters. Both are interesting from start to end and very easy reads. Do read them in order, the first killer is mentioned in the start of the second novel.
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