ARC Review: Murder with a Twist by Tracy Kiely

Whenever I come across the title and cover of this book, I am briefly reminded of Cate Blanchett’s martini line in Blue Jasmine, and I proceed to giggle because, you know, I’m classy like that. I do love the cover, by the way.


by Tracy Kiely
Midnight Ink, May 2015
Rated: cookieratingcookieratingcookierating / 5 cookies
provided by NetGalley

murdertwistVisiting New York to attend a cousin’s birthday gala, Nic and Nigel Martini are looking forward to cocktails with old friends and a pampered stay at the Ritz. But when the birthday girl’s gold-digging cad of a husband goes missing, the Martini family worries that the social event of the season may turn into a story for the scandal sheets.

Nigel’s condescending aunt begs former detective Nic to find sleazy Leo, despite the fact that it would be better for everyone if he just stayed lost. Trailing a married bachelor with a penchant for trouble isn’t pretty; in fact it’s downright deadly. Assisted by Nigel and their newly adopted bull mastiff, Nic must tangle with her old underworld connections if she hopes to hunt down the dirtiest Martini.

Jumbly Thoughts

This book was oodles of fun in the sense that the two main characters carried the conversations and investigations. I’m not actually sure why it’s the Nic and Nigel show, considering Nic is the detective, and Nigel kind of just hangs around as the handsome comic relief. Not that I minded much, to be honest. I loved Nigel and the brevity he brought to the story, especially when clearly the rest of his Martini family is filled with a bunch of rich, society nutters.

Which is pretty much where some of the magic of the book fizzled out for me. The Martinis were not fun to deal with, and I can understand Nic’s need to wash every investigation down with hard liquor. The mystery itself wasn’t super-complicated, either, even with all the smokescreen nonsense that Nigel’s relatives kept throwing at the crimes. I pretty much guessed who the criminals were pretty early on, and even then, one of the people responsible doesn’t get their just desserts.

Also, Aunt Olive? Please shut up.

Fun and games aside, I was kind of hoping for some action. There was clearly no immediate danger to anyone but the scumbag missing husband and perhaps the Martini reputation. At some point, there was a sort of death threat going to Nic, but it gets played off later and resolved without much issue. For a book that put emphasis on the deadly dangers of Nic’s underworld connections, the story comes off downright vanilla. Other than the cops who clearly have to solve the case, the tone of the book didn’t take any of the murders–or the mystery–seriously. Maybe I was just expecting a mystery novel that has “Murder” in the title to be a bit more intense. I suppose the “Twist” was that it wasn’t.

Still, I do have to hand it to the main characters to at least keep the conversations interesting. I wouldn’t be reviewing the book properly if I didn’t say that I laughed quite a bit after certain passages.

3 out of 5 cookies! For a quick and easy mystery romp, I’d recommend Murder with a Twist.

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