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Helen Smith (1) (1968–)

Author of Alison Wonderland

For other authors named Helen Smith, see the disambiguation page.

15+ Works 571 Members 86 Reviews

About the Author

Image credit: University of York


Works by Helen Smith

Associated Works

Diva Book of Short Stories (2000) — Contributor — 32 copies
Killer Women: Crime Club Anthology 2: The Body (2017) — Contributor — 7 copies


Common Knowledge

Places of residence
London, England, UK
Writers' Guild of Great Britain
Crime Writers Association
English PEN
Awards and honors
IRDP London Playwrights Festival
Short biography
Helen Smith is a member of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain, the Crime Writers Association and English PEN. She traveled the world when her daughter was small, doing all sorts of strange jobs to support them both--from cleaning motels to working as a magician's assistant--before returning to live in London where she wrote her first novel. Her work has been reviewed in The Times, the Guardian, The Independent, Time Out and the Times Literary Supplement. Her books have reached number one in the bestseller lists in the Kindle store on both sides of the Atlantic. retrieved 7/16/2013 from Amazon.com]



Three Sisters introduces Emily Castle, an amateur detective, to readers. This is a short story that is fast-paced, entertaining, full of quirky characters, and delightful scene descriptions. Well worth a read if you're looking for an hour's entertainment.
ladyoflorien | 20 other reviews | Aug 11, 2023 |
I like mysteries, cozy or otherwise, whether they are short-story ones or full-length novels. So, I was looking forward to this.

Three Sisters is a short forty-four-page mystery, which introduces us to Emily Castle. She attends a neighbourhood party in a large house inhabited by a rather flamboyant group of people. This is where a murder takes place and Emily dons her sleuthing hat to find the culprit; there are a number of suspects amongst the motley crew of party-goers.

I found that the story was too short for the plot and characters, both of which were undeveloped. The characters were very colourful, their situation—albeit bizarre—rather interesting and deserved more attention. I really wanted to know more about Emily and how she found herself to be modern-day Miss Marple, and there were many unanswered questions behind the nature of her relationships with the party attendees, as well as between the attendees themselves. Unfortunately, the whole mystery was spoiled by the fact that half way through I realised the title gave away the plot, and I was less motivated to finish the tale.

Helen’s style is light and easy-going, and this was a story with great potential, but I would like to see it in a full-length novel with more detail and perhaps with a more enigmatic title.
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Librogirl | 20 other reviews | Mar 13, 2022 |
The book I read before Helen's turned out, regrettably, to be a very good cure for insomnia, so I was very ready to pick up a light-hearted, seventy-five page, mystery novella and the second in the Emily Castles series to boot! (See Three Sisters.)

It didn’t disappoint. In this, Emily finds herself—just a little reluctantly—solving the mystery of who is sending her neighbour, Victoria, who runs a drama school (Showstoppers), some unpleasant letters regarding a video she made with a former boyfriend. (Nothing smutty, don’t worry.) Victoria has been harbouring a guilty secret about the video and frets that the author of the poison-pen letters will use it in some way against her. It’s not long before other members in Emily's neighbourhood become involved in solving not just the mystery of who is sending the letters, but…a murder too.

I felt the first Emily Castles mystery, Three Sisters, lacked some character detail, but as there are some recurring (besides Emily) characters (wonderfully eccentric and colourful ones!), we discover a little more about them and their personalities. I’ve come to like learning about the characters novella by novella! This 'drip-feed' process works rather well here.

I like a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously. And this one doesn’t. I have to say that it's not really a sophisticated Poirot or Miss Marple mystery. It’s a little bit daft but tremendous fun: it’s easy and effortless to read, the characters are diverse, entertaining, and most are very likeable. (I say 'most' because, of course, murderers aren't really supposed to be likeable, are they?)

Forty-five minutes in the company of Ms Helen Smith/Emily Castles very well spent.
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Librogirl | 8 other reviews | Mar 13, 2022 |
Alarm bells ring when characters are all involved in amateur writing classes, competitions and, er, reviews.

Sample sentence: 'In the gray, historic city of Edinburgh, in Scotland, Archie Mears opened his notebook and took the lid off his pen.'

Vanity publishing. Rubbish.
jtck121166 | 6 other reviews | Jun 9, 2020 |


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