Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Last Dinner Party

26881131When Jeanie D'Alisa is found murdered in her bedroom after hosting a dinner party in her home, detectives Anna Cole and Kristy Hicks are called to investigate the crime. Known within her community for her generous, yet unpredictable nature, Jeanie's secrets unfold as family, friends and neighbors become suspects. Anna and Kristy discover stamped passport pages revealing travels unknown and a curious relationship between Jeanie and the charming salesman who frequents the apartment building.

Meryl, Jeanie's devoted and needy friend, further complicates the investigation when she phones Jeanie's sister who is studying abroad and lies to her about the cause of death. Through a muddied pool of misdirection and betrayal, will Anna and Kristy be able to assemble the clues in order to bring Jeanie's killer to justice? The path to solving the mystery becomes tangled with faces of loved ones who are revealed to be foes in this story about the lengths people will go to in order to save themselves.

*May Contain Spoilers*
An apartment community is shocked when one of their neighbors is murdered after throwing her monthly dinner party in Carly Duncan's The Last Dinner Party. Though Jeanie wasn't perfect, she was loved and enjoyed by her neighbors for her entertaining nature and friendly demeanor. But someone did indeed strangle Jeanie and it's up to Kristy and Anna to wade through the drama.
It's around the year 1965 and Kristy and Anna have just been partnered up in the police department. Anna has struggled to keep a partner, being surly and controlling. She's intelligent, focused, punctual, and diligent with her cases. Anna doesn't have much of a life outside of the force. Readers will see the difficulties Anna has with making friends and connecting with others. Kristy is almost the polar opposite of Anna. Kristy is a social butterfly, loves to go out, enjoy a few drinks, and dance the nights away. She's rarely on time and tends to drive Anna crazy, but her father is in the police force so she can get away with a few minor offences. Kristy is the underdog in the partnership and readers will see her fight to claim her status as equal.
The Last Dinner Party starts the morning after the murder. Jeanie is found by her neighbor and the police are immediately called. Though many people play a role in the investigation and the focus is on the suspects, Anna and Kristy are the main characters. Duncan writes a very dialogue dependent novel, nearly all he-said, she-said with few clues. My favorite part of the novel was seeing the role women played in the police force during that time period, as well as the lack of advanced investigation techniques like fingerprinting or DNA testing. The storyline was interesting with various motives and suspects, but in a murder mystery I enjoy more action. The lack of action lulled me into disinterest a few times. I also don't feel like I connected with the characters as much as I would have liked. Seeing as the novel is an 'Anna and Kristy' mystery, I assume there will be more books to follow which would build upon the foundation laid in this first book.
Rating: 2.5/5 Cups

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