Author: Ashley Lynch-Harris
Pages: 206 (Ebook)
Publisher: Barrington House Publishing
Release Date: March 23, 2016
Source: I bought this book myself, but received payment in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my opinion towards the book.
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The maid was drugged with sleeping pills, the child crawled to the cliffs and the father died of a heart-attack, all in the same night. There’s a suspicion of murder, but the crime is never solved. Twenty years later, all the people present during that incident are summoned to the place where the death occurred: the Hotel Westend. Elsie, on the other hand, stumbled upon the hotel when her sister Francis suggested that she should try rock-climbing. Needless to say that Francis is the adventurous author while Elsie is the timid bookshop-owner, but when Francis becomes homebound due to a jet-skiing accident, Elsie’s turn to be daring suddenly sprouts. But can she handle this group of quirky and somewhat dangerous guests?
“The Hotel Westend”, written by Ashley Lynch-Harris is a fun, contemporary mystery book with a story full of twists. Curious and cunning, Elsie will aid the police in solving these murders with the help of local gossip and her sister’s letters, which are certainly key to unknot this mess of crimes. You certainly won’t guess who the murderer is, but the truth is that it couldn’t make more sense – all the pieces fit together perfectly in the end.
On the downside, there were many words written in italics, especially in dialogue, which was completely unnecessary as there are other ways of showing that a character is emphasizing. I believe that it creates a visual overload that degrades the reading experience and the text would certainly have worked as well without it. The descriptions are vivid – although a slightly overuse of adverbs made the writing drag on sometimes – but I thought that the characters could have been more developed. I was interested in knowing their backstory, how they had met before the events of twenty-years ago, what had they been doing meanwhile, etc. However, I also understand that withholding information is necessary to create more suspense.
Despite these few issues, “The Hotel Westend” is a complex crime story, very similar to Agatha Christie’s works – I also noticed several references to the “Miss Marple” books and “And Then There Were None”. This book is an easy, quick read that will keep you gripped from the start and will surely get your little grey cells working. I would definitely enjoy reading the next books in the “Maitland Sisters” mystery series.