Cover Image: Death in the Dark

Death in the Dark

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

"Death in the Dark" by Kitty Murphy is a riveting mystery that combines elements of suspense, humor, and the vibrant world of drag queens. The story follows Sparkle McCavity, a young drag queen who goes missing, setting off a chain of events that lead to murder, intrigue, and a touch of the supernatural.

Kitty Murphy skillfully weaves a tale of suspense, keeping readers on the edge of their seats as protagonist Fi takes on the role of a reluctant sleuth. The plot is layered with unexpected twists, and the thin trail of clues and suspects adds an element of mystery that keeps the pages turning.

The characters, particularly Fi and her diverse group of friends in the drag community, are well-developed and add depth to the narrative. The introduction of the drag king Stan the Man provides not only distraction but also a delightful element of humor that balances the darker themes of the story.

The author's portrayal of the LGBTQ+ community is both authentic and respectful, offering a refreshing and inclusive perspective. The themes of friendship, loyalty, and the impact of prejudice on the lives of the characters are woven seamlessly into the narrative.

The book successfully navigates the balance between suspenseful mystery and lighthearted moments, creating an engaging reading experience. The inclusion of a spooky séance adds a supernatural touch to the plot, elevating the story beyond a typical mystery.

While the love life subplot adds complexity to the narrative, it is skillfully integrated without overshadowing the main mystery. The resolution ties up loose ends satisfyingly, delivering a conclusion that is both surprising and emotionally resonant.

In summary, "Death in the Dark" is a delightful and well-crafted mystery that captivates with its blend of suspense, humor, and diverse characters. Kitty Murphy's storytelling prowess shines through, making this a highly recommended read for fans of the genre.

Was this review helpful?

The mystery in this book is well-paced and plotted. I simply adored this read. This is one of those authors where you can close your eyes and picture yourself exactly where they are describing in the scene and I love that. I enjoyed the continued character development from the first book overall I have nothing bad to say this was a fun and entertaining book.

Was this review helpful?

Death in the Dark is the second Dublin Drag mystery featuring part time till worker and full time friend and amateur sleuth Fi, written by Kitty Murphy. Released 11th April 2023 by Thomas & Mercer, it's 299 pages and is available in paperback, 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 lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free. The first book in the series, Death in Heels, is also available on KU.

This is such a well written and genuinely engaging mystery. The main protagonist, Fi McKinnery, is earnestly appealing, brave, loyal, and rendered believably. In fact, the author has a real gift with characterisation; even the minor secondary characters are handled well and skillfully. Given the premise (murder, skullduggery, and drama in and around a Dublin drag club), the pitfalls could have been legion. A lot of authors would have been tempted to caricature and ridicule and Ms. Murphy skillfully navigates the traps, resulting in a solidly entertaining and very well written read.

The mystery is well plotted and paced, and I never found my interest wandering at all. The climax, denouement, and resolution were satisfying (if not shocking or unexpected). It's rather sad that it needs to be said in today's world, but a high point for me was that there was no cruelty or ridicule aimed at the characters on the author's part. It would've been easy (maybe expected!) to lampoon drag and LGBTQIA+ culture for cheap laughs and the author has refrained throughout, for which I applaud. There is *camp* aplenty; bad puns, and occasionally catty dialogue (it's a murder mystery in a drag club), but it's not *mean* and I'm so very glad. There's a fun, almost Scooby Do mystery feel, with ridiculous situations, ghosts in the walls, do-lally geriatric aunties and a final middle finger scene to homophobia that is *very* satisfying to read (no spoilers).

Quite looking forward to the next books in this delightful series.

Four and a half stars. With two books extant, and included in KU, this would make a superlative choice for a weekend binge or buddy read.

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

Was this review helpful?

Not sure why I requested this EARC. This was not my kind of story and I was excited to give it a chance, but it was not for me.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed the initial set up of the mystery element on this book, but sadly it did not follow through for me. I found a lot of the side storyline to be pointless and distracting and I couldn’t connect to the characters. The outcome of the book required too much suspended belief to be enjoyable for me. I requested this book without having read the first so my apologies for not realising sooner that my opinion of the first may have reflected similarly to this one.

Was this review helpful?

Many thanks to the author, NetGalley and the publishers for a free ARC of this ebook.
The second in the series and I absolutely adored it. Set in Dublin’s drag scene it’s a wonderful, colourful blast of a murder mystery. The characters are larger than life but totally believable, and there’s a warmth and empathy to them. The story moves on at pace and is detailed enough, with quality dialogue.
I’ll definitely read this and it’s predecessor in the series again.
A good 4 and a half stars

Was this review helpful?

Before I say anything else, I have a confession to make: I have not (yet) read the first Dublin Drag Mystery. I’ll let you know at the end of this review whether or not I think that affected my enjoyment of this book.

As enticing as the blurb for this book is, I think I prefer the description of Death in the Dark the author used Twitter:

She's working her way up... DEATH IN THE DARK is the tale of 6 fictional Dublin drag queens, 1 clumsy friend, 1 handsome drag king, a shimmer of kidnap & a body stuck on a pole, mixed together with a sprinkling of intrigue and a séance. At Halloween.

Intriguing or what?

And WOW, does Death in the Dark live up to that promise! There’s a lot to like in this book. Fi is a great and very likeable, yet realistically present, main protagonist. The cast of characters is nothing short of fabulous (as if I could use any other word when talking about drag queens and kings 😊). The interactions between them sound real and are entertaining. In fact, all of them grew so real while I was reading that I want to go out and watch their show…meet them. I loved the friendship they shared, the loyalty between them, and the love they so obviously felt for each other.

The set-up of this story was rather wonderful too. It wasn’t instantly clear whether or not crimes had actually been committed, and Fi, our reluctant hero, was anything but eager to start an investigation. For a long time, nobody is sure what if anything, is going on. But the more time goes by, the clearer it becomes that something is very wrong.

Fi’s investigation is anything but straightforward. She really doesn’t have any idea where to begin or what might be going on. She puts herself in dodgy situations and even goes as far as attending a seance. And when she eventually does stumble across answers the situation only becomes more horrific.

I’m not sure I’m doing a very good job indicating how much I enjoyed this book. It seemed to get everything right. The balance between serious and fun, between dark and light, and between mystery and personal story was just about perfect. I wanted to know about the characters as much as I wanted to know what was going on and whodunnit. Which is why I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I will be reading future titles in the Dublin Drag Mysteries.

And on that note…

I’m afraid I can’t give you a clear-cut answer to the question if I should have read Death in Heels first. In general, it is always a good idea to read a series in order, of course. And I probably would have understood who-was-who in Death in the Dark a little quicker if I had read the prequel. But at no point, while reading this book, did I find myself lost, or scratching my head, or even wanting to kick myself for not taking the time to read the previous instalment. One thing I do have to say is that if you think you might want to read both books, you must read them in order. Death in the Dark holds all the spoilers for Death in Heels.

Was this review helpful?

I would highly recommend to family and friends. I love author’s that can describe a scene and you are immediately there, you close your eyes and you picture the scene. This author does that for me.
Grips like a vice and twists like a rollercoaster. Impossibly clever. Impossible to put down!

Was this review helpful?

Another great story and mystery in the Dublin Drag Mysteries: had fun and thoroughly enjoyed this well plotted and solid mystery.
Great characters, unusual setting, a lot of fun.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

Was this review helpful?

I had recently read Death in Heels and enjoyed it, so it was a no-brainer that I would grab Death in the Dark which is the sequel.

In this book, a Drag Queen goes missing and someone else is found dead and the police do not seem too concerned. Bring on Fi’s alter ego Hagatha Christie to solve the case.
The mystery kept me guessing until the very end. Everyone has the potential to be a suspect and was an enjoyable read.

Was this review helpful?

Murphy’s second entry in the Dublin Drag Mysteries series is once again filled with a memorable cast of characters, a twisty turny plot and tons of high-jinks. Murphy’s characters are incredibly likable, even Miss Merkin, the bossiest and most diva-esque of queens will tug at your heart. Additionally, I love all the 2SLGBTQIA+ representation. The mystery is a great balance of suspects, clues and red herrings and kept me guessing to the end. This touches on some sensitive topics, take care and check the CWs. FYI: If you’re interested in this series, this book contains spoilers for book one, Death in Heels, so be sure to pick it up first to keep that plot a mystery.

I received this eARC thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK, Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This book is the second in the Dublin Drag mystery series , and I enjoyed it more than the first in the series.
A drag Queen Sparkle McCavity is missing , Merkin turns to Fi in the hope she can solve the mystery .
More disappearances and a death follow and Fi tries her hardest to solve the mystery.
The characters have developed from the first book and so has the calibre of writing .
An enjoyable and different cosy mystery !
Thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK.

Was this review helpful?

Abduction. Accusations. And murder on the dance floor. Sparkle McCavity, young drag queen and employee of Miss Merkin, is missing, presumed kidnapped or even worse. Naturally, Merkin turns to reluctant sleuth and friend to the community Fi for help, but clues and suspects are worryingly thin on the ground—and the drag king Stan the Man is proving somewhat distracting. When Merkin’s niece is then found murdered, spiked on a light pole in nightclub TRASH, it becomes clear that Fi’s friends are in danger. Again. With the ever-inept Detective O’Hara becoming convinced that the most likely suspect is Miss Merkin herself, tensions begin to build among the friends. Could one of them really be responsible? After a strangely spooky séance, Fi’s best friend Robyn disappears. Guilt-ridden and distraught, Fi and her friends must double their efforts to save Robyn and Sparkle before it’s too late. Just as long as her increasingly complicated and distracting love life doesn’t get in the way!

I found this story to be well written and in general absolutely amazing. Will recommend to others.

Was this review helpful?

LGBT, mystery, photographer, drag-queens, disappearance, siblings, Dublin, suspense, thriller, unputdownable, amateur-sleuth, relationships, relationship-issues, relatives, murder, murder-investigation, law-enforcement****

I enjoyed it, but I wish that I'd read the first in series. Not too late, though.
Welcome to the world of those who live Mardi Gras all year long. Except that this is only one club and someone wants it gone. One performer disappears, and another one is dead under suspicious circumstances, the detective seems singularly useless, so Fi is tasked with solving it all. Good sleuthing and excellent world building. Some of the characters could easily be found in clubs where I live. Very well done.
I requested and received an EARC from Amazon Publishing UK/Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley. Thank you!

Was this review helpful?

3.5 stars rounded up.

I didn't realize when I requested this that it was the second in the series. However, like many cozy mystery series, you can read "sequels" without necessarily having read the books that came before. I was mostly able to catch on with the typical recap and context clues.

Fi McKinnery is just a young woman in Ireland who seems to have death all around her. In the previous book, her roommate and best friend's sister was the culprit. This time, a drag queen has disappeared, and then the niece of the manager of the drag club (TRASH) is found impaled on a light pole in the club. What follows is Fi trying to get the dickish detective to take seriously the disappearances, while also going through a bit of an existential crisis herself.

I loved the vibes and found family feelings, but I wasn't super sold on the writing style. I would definitely read more from this author and in this series though, because it was just a lot of fun for something that was pretty dark.

CW: homophobia/prejudice, involuntary confinement, kidnapping, violence

Was this review helpful?

Death in the Dark is the second in Kitty Murphy's new Dublin Drag Murder Series, and its as sharp and engaging as its predecessor, Death in Heels. While this book can be read as a standalone, I would recommend reading the original book first as you will have a much greater understanding of the characters and their relationships and so you will have a greater enjoyment of Death in the Dark. Once again someone is preying on Dublin's drag queens, this time a young queen known as Sparkle McCavity has disappeared, leaving her friends and work colleagues in the lurch with no explanation other than some rather incongruous sounding text messages which sound nothing like her. When her boss turns to our heroine and amateur sleuth Fi for help , the young photographer is drawn into a mystery that soon involves a gruesome murder scene, a distracting drag king and of course the inept or possibly even corrupt Detective O'Hara. The stakes are raised even higher by the disappearance of her best friend Robyn and soon Fi finds herself in mortal danger.
This was a really fast paced read and while the central mystery was not too difficult to figure out, I really enjoyed the story and how it was being told and there were still a few surprises along the way. The author has created a wonderful group of characters and I loved spending time with them and learning more about them as the were more fleshed out than in the previous book.

Was this review helpful?

The second Dublin Drag Mystery story, this time sees drag queen Sparkle McCavity disappear in mysterious circumstances. Miss Merkle asks friend to the TRASH nightclub Fi to find Sparkle, and help solve other tragic occurances along the way.

I really enjoyed this sorry, Fi is a fun reluctant detective, and I love the resident drag queens. It does work as a standalone, however to understand the characters fully I would advise reading the first book before this one.

Was this review helpful?

Was so good to be back at TRASH with this group of drag queens and kings. I loved the first book in this series, and think this one might be even better.

I totally didn't guess who the murderer is, nor the motive, but I agreed with Fi and the queens, that things were messy, nothing really made sense and that there must be something sinister going on.

Fi is initially reluctant to try to investigate once again, given she is still mentally recovering from the aftermaths of the first book, but when it is clear that the police, and in particular the completely disgusting Detective O'Hara are not really doing anything other than looking down on the whole drag community, and not investigating, she decides to step it up a gear.

With mixed effects!

We get to know more about various of the queens personal lives, as we see them more in and out of drag, and the addition of Stan was rather welcome.

I love this series so much, the Dublin setting, the Drag scene setting, and the amateur detecting and the vivid cast of characters, all so distinct. I love the descriptions of the performances, and how they are keeping the club running, and getting to meet Thora's aunts was interesting. And we get to see another side to Merkin too.

Just loving this book and this series, and I really hope there will be a third book, as I am eager for more. Utterly addictive story that I read in a day.

Thank you to Thomas and Mercer and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

Was this review helpful?

The second Dublin Drag mystery finds Fi investigating when a drag queen and the assistant of famed Miss Merkin goes missing. The police don't seemed concerned but Miss Merkin and those who know Niall think that he has been abducted or worse. Things become even more complicated when Fi's roommate and best friend, Robyn, goes missing too.

Overall, I thought this was a decent mystery. I thought it slowed down some in the middle, and then I was disappointed by the whodunit. Fi didn't really come across clues for this person; it was more just happenstance. In that sense, it didn't feel like a cozy mystery in the way I wanted.

I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Death in the Dark is a very interesting mystery that will keep your eyes glued to the pages.
Sparkle McCavity is a young drag queen and employee of Miss Merkin who has mysteriously disappeared. Miss Merkin, somewhat reluctant at first, decides to ask her friend Fi for help to solve the matter but it soon becomes clear that Fi's friends are in danger again. Sparkle's body is found stuffed into the light pole of the TRASH nightclub and soon afterwards Robyn, Fi's best friend, also disappears. Detective O'Hara begins to strongly suspect Merkin and this increases the tension between the friends. Will one of them really be responsible for the murder? Will Fi and her friends be able to save Robyn and Sparkle before it's too late?

It was really hard for me to put this book away. I pulled an all-nighter to finish reading it. The numerous plots and suspense left me, chapter by chapter, with bated breath. I couldn't wait to find out who was behind Sparkle and Robyn's disappearance.
The author's pen is very smooth, sarcastic and funny. I can't wait until you can read this book too. I can assure you that between kidnappings, accusations, murders and dance floors it will be impossible for you to get bored!

Many thanks to Kitty Murphy and Netgalley for the ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?