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By Eric Keith

Ransom Note Press, March 1, 2011 ($13.95)

ISBN-10: 0977378772
ISBN-13: 978-0977378777

Kindle Edition $6.99

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Nine graduates of a detective training agency reunite at an isolated vacation house in Northern California. Most have gone on to careers unrelated to the detective field. They all have different reasons for attending the 15-year reunion. They all seem to have secrets. Some want those secrets kept, at any cost. Some want those secrets exposed, at the same price. It's an odd assortment of "guests" and their host is nowhere to be found until he turns up dead, in a closet.

Is there a murderer among them? It seems so. A snowstorm blows in, contributing to the isolation, as the murders begin, and continue. Will the guests be able to survive until help reaches them? Who wants them dead, and why? Can they set aside their squabbles and work together to discover the murderer? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Agatha Christie fans will recognize the plot similarity to TEN LITTLE INDIANS. Promotional information indicates NINE MAN'S MURDER is "A locked-room novel of suspense in the Golden Age tradition."

I was reminded more of the movies Murder by Death and Clue. I guess this will be a bit of a backhanded compliment then. I thoroughly enjoyed reading NINE MAN'S MURDER but I didn't take it seriously for a moment. The characters were so over-the-top and their relationships so convoluted that I thought the author must have written the book as farce. Yet I gather from other reviews, readers took the text seriously. What can I say? I loved it but I thought it was hilarious.

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