Cover Image: The Socialite's Guide to Murder

The Socialite's Guide to Murder

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Member Reviews

CW// may be spoilers ahead

Evelyn Murphy is the daughter of the owner of the prestigious and distinguished Pinnacle hotel in New York. Set in the 1950's, during a party of Manhattan's elite, and the unveiling of an up and coming artist's masterpiece, the painting set to be revealed is stolen, and the police have several suspects. We follow as Evelyn and her bell boy lover extraordinaire work together to piece this puzzle back together of who has stolen the painting, in this Agatha Christie-esque mystery.

Evelyn was a really heart-warming, complex and wholesome character, she has a penchant for finding things, and thrives off being able to help and support others in finding what has been lost to them. After finding her mother dead in an alleyway at the age of 6, she's since been invested in jumping in to crack cases before the police, much to their dismay. This need to crack cases only intensified with the knowledge that her mother's murderer was never brought to justice. Ever since, she's had an intense distress and anxiety about leaving the comfort of the Pinnacle in fear of being the next target, but when she comes across the body of Billie Bell, the artist himself, this trauma and anxiety rears it's ugly head once more.

The more you get to know Evelyn throughout the book, the more you come to lover her and see just how clever, warm and kind she is. She's just a very warm and funny character with a little Pomeranian side kick, just to round it all off. She's also incredibly feisty, precocious, and sharp and FMC for everyone to root for. She strives and is fully determined to show those who constantly discredit, and belittle her abilities (often men) how wrong they are. It was an absolute pleasure to read in the first person narrative of such a headstrong, funny and delightful protagonist.

This novel also highlights some really important topics like sexism in the 50's. homophobia, anxiety, agoraphobia, and female empowerment and strength of which is embodied in Evelyn.

Overall, this was such a fun and cosy read, with a wide range of characters, full of detail, immersive with lots of twists and turns to keep you engaged throughout. I really enjoyed stepping into the 1950's with Evelyn, and seeing her character development and confidence grow as she faced her trauma and fears and really let herself and her intelligence shine.
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This book was fantastic! I really enjoyed it and it kept me guessing throughout, which is difficult for most books to do. I felt like I connected with the characters and really enjoyed the plot!
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⭐⭐⭐⭐ -- I ADORE the cover on this one! 

<b>The Socialite's Guide to Murder</b> is the first book in a new series set in the Pinnacle Hotel in New York City in 1958. The main character Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy is an agoraphobic with a knack for finding lost things. When a painting goes missing and a murder takes place, she decides to investigate...

I enjoyed this one a lot. I agree with other reviewers that is read more like a young adult novel, but that didn't bother me. It is written well. Easy to read. Well paced. Had a solid plot and a mystery that kept me guessing. Quirky and likable characters, and an adorable dog. I look forward to seeing what these characters get up to in book two. 

**ARC Vua NetGalley**
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Between the title, the beautiful cover and the description, before I even opened to the first page I was intrigued by this one. A cozy mystery set in the 1950s? It certainly sounds like something I would love. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I really struggled to get into this one as much as I would like. I'm not entirely sure why--- the writing was fine, it was rather unique, etc... I just couldn't bring myself to be drawn into the story as I'd hoped. It did perhaps read a bit younger than was intended, so perhaps that was the disconnect for me, but again... I'm not sure. Regardless, it was an enjoyable read... just not quite the wow that I'd built it up to be in my head. If you'd like a unique cozy read, this is certainly one to check out for yourself.

**I received a complimentary copy for consideration. All thoughts are my own.
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I thought this was an interesting historical mystery, that I would recommend to anyone who thinks it sounds good!

I received an e-ARC from the publisher.
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A funny, entertaining and compelling historical mystery that kept me turning pages. i loved the well researched and vivid historical background, the fleshed out characters, and the humour.
The solid mystery kept me guessing.
This is the first in a series and i hope to read another book soon.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
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The socialite of the title, is Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy, the daughter of the owner of the Pinnacle Hotel in Manhattan. Her penchant for finding missing items, such as a diplomat’s daughter or a supposedly stolen necklace lead to the search for a murderer when that murder occurs in her home and sanctuary – her father’s hotel where she lives in a top-floor suite designed and decorated just for her.

And her little purse dog Presley. Mustn’t ever forget Presley.

As a socialite, Evelyn lives to be seen, especially with her society page boyfriend, actor Henry Fox. Which is a bit of a problem, because Evelyn hasn’t left the Pinnacle in months. She can, but she can’t. When she was a little girl, she found her mother’s dead body just outside the hotel. The trauma has been drawing her in ever since, to the point where agoraphobia keeps her from leaving her sanctuary – the Pinnacle.

But Evelyn’s whole world teeters on a tightrope. Her romance with Henry Fox is a ruse, concocted of her need to be featured in the society columns and his need to keep the world from discovering that he’s gay. They’re the best of friends.

Howsomever, Evelyn is also friends with Mac Cooper, one of the bellhops at her father’s hotel. Mac walks the dog, keeps Evelyn up with all the hotel gossip, and is entirely too good at more than a little bit of kiss and canoodle.

So when a high-profile artist is murdered in the hotel, Mac is the perfect person to help her stage distractions, pick the locks of rooms the police have closed off, and generally assist her with her own investigation into the crime. Because Henry Fox is the prime suspect, at least until the ham-fisted police latch onto someone even better – the hotel’s head of security.

But Evelyn isn’t going to let things rest. The sanctity of her sanctuary must be restored, and she’s just the woman to do it. All she has to do is juggle Mac, Henry and whatever other secret Henry is keeping long enough to figure out whodunnit.

Escape Rating B: The Socialite’s Guide to Murder isn’t quite a cozy, but it is a light and bubbly mystery that has much of the same appeal. The Pinnacle, while not a small town, does a surprisingly good job of functioning as one for the purpose of the story.

Evelyn as a heroine embodies both the “poor little rich girl” and “bird in a gilded cage” tropes. What’s a bit different is that her cage is completely self-imposed. There’s a lot of trauma hiding behind her ditzy, spoiled persona. She’s aware that the ditziness is an act, although she’s a bit oblivious about just how spoiled she is.

Which is reflected in her relationship with Mac. They may be, probably are, falling in love with each other. And it is more than a bit frothy and bubbly, but there’s an undertone to it that gave me more than a bit of pause while reading. There’s a rather vast power imbalance between them as she’s paying him $10 or $20 every single time he does something for her. $10 doesn’t sound like that much, but it’s the equivalent of $100 in today’s terms. It adds up to a lot of money. She’s initially not at all sure whether he’s her friend because he likes her or because she’s paying him and it doesn’t feel like she worries about it nearly enough.

(If that shoe were on the other foot it would be an extremely squicky situation. It’s not less squicky because of the role reversal even if it’s intended to feel that way.)

Once I was able to let my willing suspension of disbelief set all of that aside, the mystery itself is a lot of fun. I did guess that the initial art heist that kicks things off wasn’t exactly what it seemed, but the murder that followed had plenty of tasty red herrings to fish for and tempting would-be clues to sent this reader on many an enjoyable wild goose chase.

The setting of the mystery within the confines of this great and grand hotel was a treat. It still felt like a cozy in a setting that isn’t really cozy at all. More like elegant and opulent, and it was a pleasure to read the way it all worked and how Evelyn’s world came together.

So the mystery is appropriately puzzling, the setting is different in a delicious way and the heroine and her little dog are fun to follow. If you like your mysteries with more than a bit of bubble and froth The Socialite’s Guide to Murder is a lovely little read.

And for anyone who enjoyed The Three Dahlias, Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy the amateur sleuth would fit right into their crime solving shenanigans – once she is able to leave the Pinnacle. Maybe in the next book in the series.
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i requested this book initially in an attempt to go outside my comfort zone and delve into a genre i wasn't used to reading so i was pretty slow to start reading this book. what i didn't expect was to be completely immersed in a compelling mystery that had me flipping pages after i got through the first chunk. i loved the main character and i thought her agoraphobia was handled well.
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This was a quick, cute read and I enjoyed it. I’ll definitely pick up the next one. I especially appreciate that Evelyn's agoraphobia is handled with kindness; Golden neatly avoided the "Grey Gardens" trap that is so easy to fall into.
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Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy is a wealthy young and attractive woman, who lives in the penthouse at Pinnacle Hotel in New York City. Her father owns the hotel, and Evelyn spends her time listening to gossip amongst staff about the guests, and helping the occasional person find a misplaced item. She also poses with her best friend and actor Henry Fox for supposedly candid shots, helping him maintain the fiction that he is heterosexual. Evelyn has her own secret: she has a flirty relationship with Mac Cooper, a bellboy/waiter and dog walker for Evelyn's beloved dog Presley.

When an artist who plans to reveal his latest painting at a party at the hotel discovers the painting was stolen, Henry is accused of theft, but pretty quickly Evelyn proves his innocence. Then the artist is found stabbed, and Evelyn begins investigating in earnest. She enlists Mac's help, with him picking locks and her searching through files and interrogating guests, and we get a better sense of Evelyn and what is keeping her from leaving the hotel.

At the book's outset, Evelyn seems like nothing more than a flirt who loves fashion, styling herself after Marilyn Munroe, and too silly, inconsequential and spoiled to have a single, intelligent thought in her platinum blonde head. 

And though she has a vivid imagination, is stubborn when she has a plan, is kind to others, and has an unwillingness to hear some truths about herself from her analyst, she's smart, is always dressed to kill, is suffering from agoraphobia and PTSD after an incident that occurred when she was six-years old: she found her mother murdered outside a toy store, and grew terrified of leaving the safety of the Pinnacle afterwards.

She's also remarkably happy to help Henry masquerade as her boyfriend, and is unwilling to believe Mac is defined solely by his past. And, she loves reading Agatha Christie (she's reading "Hickory Dickory Death" during her own investigation) and has the amusing plan of revealing the murderer at an Hercule Poirot-style gathering.

Evelyn is delightful, and I had a lot of fun watching her sleuth, and really enjoyed the humourous tone of this mystery. 

Thank you to Netgalley and to Crooked Lane Books for this ARC in exchange for my review.
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Very cute mystery set in 1958 New York,  but I was a little underwhelmed. Could appeal to YA readers
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THE SOCIALITE'S GUIDE TO MURDER by S. K. Golden is set at the Pinnacle Hotel near Central Park in New York in 1958. As such, it is both historical fiction and a mystery, but it also includes elements of romance and a definite sense of farce. Think of The Play that Goes Wrong or perhaps Noises Off. The main character, Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy, is a young woman who is the sheltered and spoiled daughter of the hotel's widowed, very rich, and absent owner. Miss Murphy is seemingly adored by the hotel staff including the manager, Mr. Sharpe; front desk attendant Mr. Burrows; her maid Florence; and bell boy Mac Cooper. Mac is also her partner in investigating an art theft and subsequent murder. They are aided by Amelia, the young child of hotel guests, and by Presley, Miss Murphy's precious dog. It's all a bit sweet, full of laughs, and "over the top," including Miss Murphy's well publicized affection for Henry Fox, a famous actor, even though they consider their friendship to be purely platonic. There are plenty of confusing twists and confounding theories about whom the real murderer is. Also with a hotel setting, Nita Prose's The Maid is the better written story, but fans of light and humorous mysteries will enjoy THE SOCIALITE'S GUIDE TO MURDER and subsequent adventures at the Pinnacle Hotel.
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Unfortunately, I never got into the characters. The mystery did keep me guessing.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an hones review.
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Interesting and easy to read first book in a new historical mystery series. I liked the idea of a bit of a spoiled socialite who lives in a hotel, spends her daddy's money, and then decides to solve a murder that occurs in the hotel. The mystery is intriguing and there's enough red herrings to keep you guessing. And the secondary characters really add to the story.

Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own and without bias or favor or expectation.
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Welcome to 1958 New York City and the posh world of Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy. She is the pampered daughter of the very, very rich owner of the hotel. Within the walls of the hotel she lives a very interesting life style. There is a rooftop hotel, boutique shops to help her fill her closet (an entire room in her penthouse suite), hairdressers to keep her brown hair dyed platinum and perfectly styled a la Marilyn Monroe. She also has an adorable pup named Presley. Many would see her only as a spoiled, ditzy rich young woman. They would do so at their peril. Sure she knows how to enjoy life but she also has a sharp mind and is nosy. It isn't much of a leap from finding a hotel guest's lost handbag and various crimes that are bound to occur in a large upscale hotel to solving the theft of a work of art and, later the murder of the artist. Aided by her friends, Henry Fox and Mac the bellhop, she sets out to find the killer. The detective on the case thinks Henry makes a good prime suspect and we all know that's not possible. This is her home and her friend so of course it's her investigation, too.
I enjoyed the setting of 1958 and the attention to detail. Evelyn was sometimes a tad bit annoying but I soon realized that she had good reason to have agoraphobia and, when she was forced outside due to the case, she was well supported by friends like Mac. As for the mystery, it kept me entertained straight to the last page. For a debut mystery this hit the ground running and I'm looking forward to see what is in store for Evelyn in her next investigation.
My thanks to the publisher Crooked Lane and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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I just finished a socialites guide to murder by S.K Golden

It’s 1958 and heiress Evelyn is happy as clam in her hotel. She has a fake boyfriend, Henry, who is a movie star! She has her little dog Presley, she lives the life most only dream of. 

Then one day an artist is showcasing his latest masterpiece at the hotel. During the party someone steals it. Evelyn, who is good at finding things, sets out to solve the mystery. Then the artist, Billy is found murdered and the missing painting is just the start of the epic adventure. 

With the help of Mac, a bellhop at the hotel and her secret lover, Evelyn sets herself on a dangerous path that could see her and the people around her in mortal danger. Still battling agoraphobia and panic attacks which leave her unable to go outside the hotel, she pushes through to save an innocent man from going down for crimes she knows he didn’t commit. 

I have 4 words for this book….. TOO CUTE FOR WORDS. I love Evelyn. She may be spoiled and a little spoiled but she has a heart of absolute gold and she sees people for who they are not their status. Beautifully written and hard to put down, the whole book had this cozy mystery feel to it but still had the grit to hold the attention of mystery lovers. Set in the 50s, it was a real fun way to enjoy a good mystery in a historical fiction setting.

Loved the hotel. Really enjoyed all the extra things we learned about it too. Found the whole book an absolute delight. 

I love that Mac and Evelyn end up together and not hiding, that really shows you that she didn’t see his status or his past but the man standing before her. Sigh… I am a sucker for romance.

5 stars! Thank you Netgalley and Crooked lane books for my review copy
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This is marketed as a debut (unless S.K. Golden is a pseudonym, of course), as well as the first book in a series, and I have to say that it shows.

Reader beware: wealthy white debutante, with attendant problematic behavior and perspective; closeted gay best friend (see: period setting); agoraphobia and PTSD; car accident; parental neglect; closed door sex.

The premise for the Pinnacle Hotel Mystery series is that our heroine and narrator, parlays her position as ‘spoiled rich daddy’s girl’ to get away with behavior that’s at best socially unacceptable; that she does this partly as a coping mechanism for unresolved childhood trauma; and that between that, an obsession with Agatha Christie novels, and her natural ingenuity, she’s in the best position to solve murders.

I have to say, however, that having her solve one murder at daddy’s hotel is somewhat believable; having it be a series of murders all in the hotel, would be taking the ‘small town murder sleuth’ to an even more unnatural extreme.

I have a hate-love-hate relationship with most book blurbs, because they are supposed to sell the book to potential readers, and often what’s actually between the covers has little to do with what the blurb promised. This blurb, on the other hand, spits out plot points all the way to the 77% mark. Which, for a detective story, is definitely too much.


We are introduced to Evelyn through her privilege. Not just that, as far as she’s concerned, she’s pretty much the center of the world (even if her world is just The Pinnacle), but how she relates to her things, and how so much of her life revolves around her appearance.

It’s clear that a lot of Evelyn’s “quirky” ditzy persona is, at least in part, the result of early trauma from finding her mother’s body, and the fact that the murderer has not been caught. Also, she’s only 21, so at least she sounds very young and very naïve because she is.

Then there are the daddy issues (as shown by her almost desperation to have the men in her life, from the hotel manager, Mr Sharpe, to detective Hodgson, “like her”), that move her to do some spectacularly stupid things, just so she can “prove to both those men” that she’s not stupid.

The thing is, devoting paragraphs to what she puts on, from panties to jewelry and every step in between, makes sense–once, to set up her personality. But when you are doing it with almost every wardrobe change all the way to the end, what I realize is that Evelyn hasn’t really grown as a person–because, lest we forget, it’s Evelyn who is narrating.

She’s is not an “unlikable heroine” in the usual sense, but she’s a spoiled young woman who spends (her father’s) money like water, and doesn’t seem to care much about the people around her, other than Henry and Malcolm, maybe a bit about Amelia (a child who’s staying at the hotel with her parents); but even when it comes to those she does care about, it’s all centered in how they fulfill a role in her life.

Evelyn is, basically, shallow. Smarter than she’s given credit for, but shallow.

And since we see all the other characters through Evelyn’s eyes, what we get is a very shallow picture; not exactly flat, but not quite engaging or alive. All the people around Evelyn seem to be characters in the story she’s telling herself.

This means that the entire romance plotline failed for me.

(Plus, having her think, about one of the other characters, that he is “handsome for a man barreling toward fifty”, my impression of both Evelyn and the author is not a positive one–if we want to talk about attractive traits, ageism is not one.)

I do have to say, however, that the scenes where Evelyn is confronting her trauma are truly moving; in those, she’s a whole person, rather than a cliché.

Now, to the mechanics of the story as a mystery.

The book honestly needed tighter editing.

The author plays it straight, giving the reader all we need to figure out what happened; this is good in some ways, but in this case meant that I figure out the killer and their motivations well before Evelyn. Also, a failure to set up a “closed room” scenario for the murder means that the pivotal revelation at the climax didn’t really stand out for me.

There were some rather large errors in key scenes that made them confusing rather than impactful. For example: when Evelyn finds the corpse, much is made that he’s “looking at her”–at the same time that much is made of the fact that she can see the knife wound on his back, down to location and size. You cannot do both those things at the same time with someone whose head is still attached.

The Socialite’s Guide to Murder is 5.50 out of 10 for me.
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Step into a delightful new series that will make you smile until the last page!
Evelyn, the quirky, glamorous, spoiled daughter of the owner of the Pinnacle Hotel, resides on the top floor with her Pomeranian Presley!

Combine her with a fabulous cast of characters, including her best friend, a handsome movie star and a murder.  What more could you ask for?

Cannot wait for more!
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I received a copy of this title from the publisher, but all thoughts/opinions expressed are my own.  3.25 stars rounded down to 3.  The Socialite's Guide to Murder is a very promising start to a series set during 1958 as the first signs of the swinging 60s that are to come are starting to appear.  The story is told through the eyes (in first person) of Miss Evelyn Murphy, the early 20ish daughter of the owner of the Pinnacle, a luxury hotel in New York City.  Evelyn hasn't left the hotel in 14 months and suffers from agoraphobia that is related to her mother's unsolved murder when she was a young child; she was the first person to find the body and has lived with a fear of the world outside of the hotel ever sense.  She lives in a penthouse with her Pomeranian Pressley and tries to emulate her idol, Marilyn Monroe.  She has a faux boyfriend, Henry Fox, a movie star who is in town to make his debut on Broadway.  Evelyn and Henry like to stage photo ops of their relationship, and as such, they attend an art exhibit at the hotel.  During the grad unveiling of some new work, it is discovered that the painting is missing; Evelyn is determined to find out who took it in part to clear the hotel's name and also the name of one of the bellhops, Mac, who she has developed a casual relationship with.  I thought the mystery aspect of the story was well down and appreciated the time period as one that I haven't come across much in the historical mystery space.  I did find Evelyn to be somewhat immature and very fashion obessed which may not be every reader's cup of tea, but I found a lot of promise to the character if the author allows for her to continue the growth she displayed during this book.  The secondary characters were interesting, and there is what appears to be a slow burn mystery involving her mother's death that I expect to be resolved later in the series.  Overall, I did enjoy this story and will be giving any future books a chance.
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I went into this thinking this was an “historical” mystery (that’s how it’s listed), but in my opinion it’s more of a “cozy”. And I’ll preface this by saying I’m not a cozy aficionado. 

Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy is an heiress in 1958 Manhattan who lives in her father’s luxury hotel. She suffers from bouts of agoraphobia as she discovered her murdered mother in the hotel alley as a young child. She and the bellhop Mac (also her dog walker/romantic interest) investigate the art theft/murder of an artist in the hotel as she is “good at finding things”. While she is seen as pampered/ditzy by some (she tries to emulate Marilyn Monroe in her looks, etc.), she has a heart of gold. 

I got the feeling that the author modeled Evelyn a bit on Cher (Clueless…putting her designer outfits together) and Elle (Legally Blonde…carrying her dog Presley around in her purse). She’s annoying at times but ultimately likable. 

I’m giving this first outing of a new series a 3/5 (my amateur opinion), but other cozy lovers may rank it higher. 

My thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing the free early arc for review. The opinions are strictly my own.
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