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Three Sisters (The Emily Castles Mysteries) (edition 2011)

by Helen Smith

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3213347,362 (3.33)4
Member:rretzler
Title:Three Sisters (The Emily Castles Mysteries)
Authors:Helen Smith
Info:Tyger Books (2011), Kindle Edition, 44 pages
Collections:Your library, Read, Kindle
Rating:**
Tags:mystery, castles, smith, 2013

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Three Sisters by Helen Smith

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3.5 / 5

This was a fast, light, entertaining read that I finished very quickly.

Emily Castles attends a neighbourhood party at a large house occupied by a collection of performance artists. During the party strange happenings begin to occur. Are they just part of the entertainment or is something more sinister afoot? Emily thinks the latter, but no-one else believes her, and her noseying around soon puts her in danger.

Emily makes an appealing amateur sleuth. She’s observant, determined, and funny at times. This droll novella reminded me a little of a Barbara Pym novel, but it was a bit too short to properly engage me. I didn’t know much about Emily, apart from the fact that she recently lost a beloved dog, and that prevented me from really caring about her.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
( )
  ColeenKwan | Feb 25, 2014 |
This is a dual review for both Three Sisters and Showstoppers

“Everything was on the spectrum from brown to cream, and the overall effect was a sepia-toned display that had been put together by someone nostalgic for a time before Britons had learned to cook, but after they had learned to shop at supermarkets.” - Three Sisters

A good mystery should read like a good magic show. Full of flash, curiosity, misdirects and in the end leave you wanting for more. We may learn what we think is the true outcome, the solving of a crime, but we will never know all of what was behind the curtain. It is what makes us pick up the next book in the series. Helen Smith has done this for me with these two novella’s. I want more and more Emily Castle adventures!

I never get tired of a good mystery. A mystery must keep me guessing, be written with a flair for the flamboyant (despite the blandness of colours on the buffet table) and keep me biting my nails till the end. Whatever mystery I am reading must have a unique protagonist combined with a cast of other intriguing characters. It should draw me in and make me part of the sleuthing. Though I have been want to read the new sub-genre of a cozy*, I will forever be a fan of Agatha Christie and Sir Author Conan Doyle. Classical mysteries at their finest.

“The south London sky exploded with a thousand deaths that night“ – Three Sisters
What makes me adore and driven with the need to send threatening e-mails for more more and more Emily Castles Mysteries is the combination of both the classical mystery, the cozy style (because she is an independent female and very smart) and a writing style which is reminiscent of a Hard Boiled Raymond Chandler (several metaphors and allegorical content remind me of The Big Sleep) and sublimeness of David Foster Wallace. The description of the buffet table is just a small example of the beautiful and poetic writing style of the author. I could see the table full of food and feel just as washed out as she was feeling. Each step was a hint, and a hint either leading you towards solving the mystery or down a dead-end.

How she managed to pull this off in under 50 pages with each book is beyond me. It works though, all aspects and conventions of the Mystery genre are not only intact but are more powerful than some of the full length novels I have read. They do not give you time to take a breath, it was non-stop reading with each and the stories kept me hopping. As with their length, Ellen has a shortened period of time to solve this mystery, whether stated or suggested. The surreal evening of Bonfire night (Guy Fawkes night) is a ticking bomb, the party is almost a traveling circus, a side-show pulling up in a covered wagon and pouring out with entertainers that could not possibly all fit inside. Three Sisters is like the wagon, so many distractions it is hard to keep up with what is going on and I felt like I was spinning in circles, despite the title which had me figuring out the main mystery, there were still tons of other blanks I had to fill.

“Sunlight streamed from the tall windows along the corridor and dripped coppery highlights into Victoria’s plaits and Dolly’s liquorice-coloured curly hair; a woman dressed as a child from a story about a tornado induced dream…” Showstopper
Moving onto Showstoppers, Emily is just coming up for air after the Bonfire party. We have several of the characters introduced in Three Sisters who are fleshed out. Emily seems to be coming into her own after the loss of a loved one and her constant temporary state of living. It is another race of the clock, but this time she has to engage with her neighbors, put herself out there more and trust in a few other people as well as own instincts.

These two novella’s, for me a mystery buff at heart (I have my complete Nancy Drew collection to prove it) were the perfect vehicle to drive new fans into a the “bated breath” stage of wait. If you love a good stand alone mystery heroine who has a love for dogs, has not figured out where she fits in life and is a bit too traditional with a setting in a London we do not get to peak at with many other of these types stories.. pick these two stories up and keep tabs on each upcoming books. I hope we will get new adventures soon! ( )
  AKMamma | Nov 25, 2013 |
I received this book via LibraryThing's Member Giveaways.

This is a quirky little story that takes a bit of work to get the gist of what is going on. I liked that it wasn't very long so the mystery wasn't unnecessarily drawn out. I liked that the whodunnit aspect was straightforward.

Once I got into the story I found it charming and would read more of Emily's adventures. ( )
  leesalogic | Jun 22, 2013 |
Reviewed for Read Your Writes Book Reviews
www.readyourwrites.blogspot.com

As the description explains this is the first story in the Emily Castles mystery series by Helen Smith. Three Sisters is actually a small novella which sets up and introduces Emily. Three Sisters was a hard book for me to read, even though it’s only about 44 pages long. I attempted to read the book three times before I actually finished it.

The story takes place in London on what I believe is the equivalent to Halloween. Emily and her neighbors go to a party located at the end of her street, put on by what appears to be a traveling performance organization similar to a carnival. In essence, it’s like dinner theater, where people who come to see the show bring potluck dishes.

The whole premise of the book is that Emily is the only person who sees a murder and no one believes her. More than half of the book is about the set up of the storyline and characters. For me, I didn’t get into the book until about 44% of the way in and even then I wasn’t totally sure I even liked the book. I didn’t start to enjoy it until about 70% of the way.

I’m not going to say it was easy to determine who the murderer was because there were several possibilities. I will say the murder itself and the events leading to the capture of the murderer were interesting. Could the story have been better? Most definitely.

Source: Blog Tour Host ( )
  ReadYourWrites | Jun 8, 2013 |
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This was a really well done short story. Emily Castles is an interesting character and this story will leave you panting for more. The writing is well thought out and will have you guessing - what is real?? what is not?? My final words....More, please ( )
  KathleenMcC | May 23, 2013 |
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For Brenda, Hans and Emily

IN MEMORY OF JESSIE

14th February 1993 - 13th October 2010
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The south London sky exploded with a thousand deaths that night.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Three Sisters introduces twenty-six-year-old amateur sleuth Emily Castles in this popular new British mystery series.

Emily has been invited to a party in the big house at the end of her street in London. How could she know, as she left her house that evening, that she was making an appointment with death?

[retrieved 7/15/2013 from Amazon.com]
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Helen Smith is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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