Invitation to a Killer

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Pub Date Feb 07 2023 | Archive Date Jan 31 2023

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Crime writer turned sleuth, Augusta Hawke finds herself drawn into her second mystery when a celebrity doctor is found dead at a party she is attending!

Callie Moore is no ordinary aspiring writer. Notorious wife of a Washington lobbyist, Callie believes no publicity is bad publicity and that publishing her scandalous memoirs will help her achieve her heart's desire: a diplomatic posting. She just needs crime novelist Augusta Hawke to be her ghostwriter.

It's hard to say no to Callie, but Augusta does agree to attend her dinner party. The guest list is impressive, and it's Augusta's chance to meet celebrity doctor Doc Burke. But before Augusta really gets a chance to chat with the famous humanitarian, the evening ends in his untimely death.

Signs point to a heart attack, but Augusta isn't convinced. Especially when his niece tells Augusta about the mystery woman who claimed the doctor's remains.

Augusta decides to host a writers' retreat and invite all the suspects, most of whom are connected in some way with writing. Isn't that what Agatha Christie would do? But the remote lodge soon becomes snowed in and the group starts to crack when it becomes clear the killer may not be finished killing. Can Augusta flush out the culprit before anyone else gets hurt?

Crime writer turned sleuth, Augusta Hawke finds herself drawn into her second mystery when a celebrity doctor is found dead at a party she is attending!

Callie Moore is no ordinary aspiring writer...

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Average rating from 29 members

Featured Reviews

The second book in the Augusta Hawke series by G.M.Malliet does not disappoint. The storyline and characters are intriguing and keeps you interested right till the end. This is turning out to be an excellent series and leaves you excited for the next book.

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I didn't realise this was part of a series so I read it as a standalone and was perfectly able to do that without feeling liike I was missing anything major.
It was well written with a gripping story and well developed characters. I really enjoyed it.

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Since prolific mystery novelist Augusta Hawke's first adventure as an amateur sleuth, she has decided to take the private investigator certification course and passed with flying colors. So although she has 19 successful novels to her credit (still working on the 20th, to her editor's disappointment), she can't help getting involved when a well-known plastic surgeon and philanthropist dies in a suspicious manner at a dinner party. Doc Burke and Augusta are among the dinner guests of Callie, a DC socialite and lobbyist's wife who wants Augusta to ghost-write her memoir in the hope that it will lead to an overseas ambassadorship. The other attendees, including a one-name stylist, a CIA employee, a prominent literary agent, a nearly-disgraced politician, and a couple of wives, have their own agendas, and serving them are the requisite (possibly suspicious) butler and housekeeper/chef couple.

The Augusta Hawke mysteries are not gritty or violent--they are clearly meant to be fun reads, and quite a bit of suspension of disbelief is required. In her self-professed investigator role, with very little contact with law enforcement (in this book), Augusta somehow plows through a quite convoluted plot, a tangle of clues and twists, and many suspects, culminating in an Agatha Christie-type "let's get all the suspects in the same room and reveal the killer" event. I enjoyed going along for the ride and look forward to future adventures.

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book.

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Midway through Invitation to a Killer, the second installment of G.M. Malliet's Augusta Hawke series, a character expresses a desire to conduct an investigation of this book's central crime in the style of an Agatha Christie novel; in fact, Christie's influence is felt all the way through this book, but most especially in the denouement. Unfortunately that style of reveal ends up feeling clunky and overpacked here, and the post-denouement ending feels a bit unsatisfying. However, character development is good, and I'd enjoy spending more time with some of them. Main character Augusta Hawke, a prolific crime novelist from Maine turned amateur sleuth, bears a strong resemblance to Jessica Fletcher of "Murder, She Wrote" fame, although a bit more prickly and snarky than Mrs. Fletcher ever was. Although this is the second book in a series (with an ending that promises more books to come); it's easily read as a standalone novel. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity!

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review "Invitation To A Killer" by G.M. Maillet.
Augusta Hawke is back! The mystery writer who was instrumental (at least in her own mind) in solving "The Case of The Missing Neighbors" suddenly becomes embroiled in another mystery - this time a murder.
At a book signing, Augusta Hawke meets Calypso 'Callie' Moore, the wife of a DC lobbyist who wants to become an ambassador, and has decided that one of the best ways to accomplish this is to have Ms. Hawke (whose books she doesn't actually read, preferring 'bodice rippers') ghost-write her memoirs.
So, Augusta ends up being invited to a dinner party where she meets who are to become the cast of characters for this mystery. Among them are a husband and wife spy team (CIA?), a sketchy politician and his 'stand by your man' wife, a famous stylist (one-named, of course) and a publisher of renown (not Augusta's, but one to cultivate) who the hostess seems to think is 'her' publisher for her 'memoirs' (she even promises some juicy gossip regarding a relative and a high-ranking British royal), as well as a renowned surgeon - 'Doc' Burke - who spends all of his rich clients' fees on helping third-world children who could not otherwise afford life-changing surgeries. Add to this the butler and maid-cum-chef who may or may not be illegal immigrants and you have a classic, Agatha Christie-type whodunit. With Augusta Hawke as Miss Marple (and Detective Narduzzi, making a return appearance as a possible Poirot).
No one knows why Doc Burke died at the party, but things start to add up wrong when his 'wife' steps in and has him cremated and takes off with the remains (for possible burial at sea); but was she actually his wife? And why all the secrecy.
Of course, it soon turns out that the good doctor may not have actually died of natural causes, and Augusta is hot on the trail of his possible killer.
This one has all the classic elements of a Christie whodunit, including gathering all of the suspects together in a remote hotel, a secret identity and the surprise unmasking at the end.
This one is a great follow up to the first Augusta Hawke mystery, and I for one look forward to the next.

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Wholly Enjoyable..
The second of the Augusta Hawke mystery series finds the crime writer turned amateur sleuth in a sticky situation when a death occurs at a party she happens to be attending. The suspicious death of the celebrity doctor stuns her, as well as the impressive selection of guests. To satisfy her curiosity, Augusta decides to hold a writer’s retreat and invite every single suspect. When snow descends the situation turns treacherous but can Augusta find the killer before they strike again and is she, herself, in danger? Wholly enjoyable murder mystery with a traditional premise and a well defined and credible cast of characters as well as an atmospheric setting.

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#InvitationtoaKiller #NetGalley A great little surprise! Pick this one up and you won't put it down. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this novel. I encourage you to check this one out!

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In Augusta's second outing she's moved to solve the mystery of the death of a philanthropic doctor at a high-society dinner. Darkly comic and well-paced, this will appeal especially to fans of cozy, caper mysteries.

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An enjoyable well-written story and a middle-of-the-road mystery. There is some humor in the book. I like Augusta Hawke who is a very competent woman. It is interesting to see life in Washington, D.C. among the power brokers and the "everyday" people who also live there.

There are a lot of twists and a classic gathering of the suspects for the final dénouement but I thought it was a little unrealistic that all of these busy people could be gotten to together for a weekend, for a dinner party yes, a weekend, not so much. The culprit was a bit obvious.

But overall, a solid mystery by a very good writer.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for ah honest review.

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I really like Malliet’s Max Tudor series (new one coming later this year!!!) and so I was excited to read this second book in a new series from her. I haven’t read the first book but I don’t think that hampered my enjoyment - although it might have explained a few things. Anyway this is a well plotted if wildly far-fetched murder mystery was a fun heroine-sleuth with an engaging narrative style. I enjoyed it and would happily read the first one and any more Malliet cares to write.

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Augusta Hawke is back and G.M. Malliet’s delightful character will have you chuckling as you turn the pages. After her involvement in a real murder investigation, the mystery writer decided to become a licensed investigator. When she encounters another dead body it is listed as natural causes but Augusta suspects murder. At one of her book signings Augusta meets Callie Moore, who would like Augusta to ghost write her memoir. Callie wants to become an ambassador somewhere that there are beaches and no chance of war. She believes that a successful book would call attention to her and better her chances of getting a position. When Augusta says no Callie invites her to a party at her estate, hoping to change her mind. The guests include a congressman, a member of the CIA, a well-known literary agent, a celebrity doctor, a personal coach and several spouses. Before the evening is over the doctor will be found dead in a lounge chair. He had a heart condition so no one questioned the death.

Several months after the party Augusta is contacted by Nell, the doctor’s niece. His body was supposedly claimed by his wife, but she is a health worker in Sierra Leone and never left the country. He was cremated so there is no way to confirm Augusta’s suspicions. He left Nell a copy of his memoir to be published after his death and she is hoping that Augusta can help her with that task. They hope to find a clue in his transcript that would explain why someone would want to kill him, but nothing stands out. In an ending that would make Agatha Christie proud, Augusta and Nell gather everyone from the party at a weekend retreat, sure that the killer will somehow reveal himself. It is a weekend where not everyone is who they seem and there are some surprising twists before the murderer is finally revealed. Augusta Hawke is a wonderful character and I look forward to seeing her again. I would like to thank NetGalley and Severn House for making this book available for my review.

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In this second Augusta Hawke novel, Malliet seems to revel in her creation's wit and sharpened crime-solving skills. Odious socialite and wannabe writer, Callie Moore, attempts to gaslight her way to getting Augusta to co-write her creative (ahem) non-fiction memoir, and to convince popular agent Rem Larsson to sell it for her. Callie plays fast and loose with reality, and Augusta can't really take her seriously--especially Callie's boldly stated desire to become an ambassador for the U.S. At Callie's glamorous dinner party, which Augusta grudgingly attends, a famous humanitarian, Doc Burke, dies as he sits in the evening shadows of Callie's garden, eating baked Alaska. While Doc's death doesn't immediately present as a murder, Augusta has her suspicions. And when, a while later, Doc's body is snatched away, and his niece, Nell, shows up at Augusta's door with a memoir written by Doc himself, her suspicions become a reality. The fun twist in the novel happens here, when Nell and Augusta cook up an impromptu writer's retreat in Virginia's snowy mountains, and invite all the suspects. Malliet is an expert storyteller, and Augusta's voice is sure and clever. I love her frequent, arch one-liners that elevate the prose above so many other cozy mysteries. Prayer bonnets, fashion faux pas, (non) parenthood, hapless spies, and Washington lobbyists are all in her sites. Because Malliet's stories are told in large part through smart dialogue and Augusta's piercing questions, the action moves with a pleasing quickness. Loving this series.

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Invitation to a Killer is the second Augusta Hawke mystery by G.M. Malliet. Released 7th Feb 2023 by Severn House, it's 240 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats.

This is a quirky amateur sleuth mystery told in first person PoV featuring mystery writer Augusta in the starring role. It's set in modern day Washington DC and has a cast of well known socialites, philanthropists, and politicians in a sort of locked room murder setup, where the first murder occurs.

The writing is competent and the plotting is well controlled and moves at a good clip. I found the *constant* unrelenting internal monologue on the part of the protagonist to be intrusive and a detraction to the flow of the read. It reminded me a bit of the full on snarkiness of the M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin books, and readers who love the Beaton books will find a lot to like here.

The unabridged audiobook has a run time of 8 hours, 36 minutes and is competently narrated by Erin Dion. She has a husky and pleasant alto voice with a neutral American accent. She has a good grasp of timbre and inflection and, in a positive way, her voice doesn't take over the read. I found myself able to listen to the *book* without noticing her *voice* overmuch. She does an ok job differentiating the various characters without being confusing or repetitive. I listened at slightly increased speed and never found my interest wandering or losing my place.

Three and a half stars. Definitely worth a look for fans of tongue-in-cheek sarcastic amateur sleuth mysteries.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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