Thursday 2 February 2023


Book review: The Murder Game by Tom Hindle

I do love a good murder mystery. Whether is a classic Agatha Christie or a contemporary tale, such as The Thursday Murder Club or The Marlow Murder Club, as long a clever whodunnit. Tom Hindle's A Fatal Crossing was one of my favourite new discoveries within the genre last year, and the author's second novel is even better. In The Murder Game he takes readers to a classic setting: a group of people are "stuck" in a remote country house when one of them is killed. With motives and opportunities galore, who was the one to do the awful deed? 

A lot is riding on the first murder mystery party being held at Hamlet Hall. Organiser Will Hooper wants to prove himself and right certain wrongs from the past. And Ian Davies, the hotel's owner, desperately need money to keep the Hall running. He's willing to give anything that can draw in the locals out of season a try and has put a lot of money and effort into making the first event a roaring success. 

But when the attendees trickle in one by one, disaster is on the cards before the party has even started. People of opposite sides of a big debate in town are both in attendance, and that's before an unwanted surprise guest joins their troops. It's only a matter of time before tension runs high and one of them is found murdered for real. Reality starts to blend with the carefully orchestrated plot of the murder mystery, until guests no longer know what is real and what's made up...

Every once in a while I get into a reading slump. Nothing I pick up grabs my attention and I don't finish a book for weeks on end. This was the case at the start of the year as well, but as soon as I picked up The Murder Game by Tom Hindle my reading mojo came back to me and I felt a surge of excitement about immersing myself into the pages of his novel. It was so well-written, and so well-plotted, that I finished it in one day – in one sitting in fact. Talk about an engrossing read! 

Tom Hindle has really found his stride with his second novel. Rounding up a group of interlinked people in a remote location and slowly revealing their connections and secrets is of course a classic starting off point for a whodunnit filled with twists and turns. Throw in plenty of shocking reveals that change everything we, as readers, think we know about the characters, and you've got yourself a gripping novel. 

But the author has gone even further than that. He has cleverly layered his book in such a way that by the end of the story we're not just trying to uncover one murder mystery, but at the same time we're trying to pick apart tragedies that happened in the small town of Hamlet Wick years, and even decades, ago. This makes it impossible for readers to grasp the full complexity of the narrative before its final reveal. And I love it when the story is so clever and intricate, that it keeps me second-guessing everyone – and everything – until the very end. 

The Murder Game by Tim Hindle is a fantastic tribute to the golden age of mystery fiction. Whether you're already a die-hard Agatha Christie fan, or you're just dipping your toes into the genre, I can guarantee that if you only remotely enjoy stories with red herrings and shocking reveals (and a healthy dose of murder on the side, of course) then you'll be in for an absolute treat with this absolutely engrossing whodunnit. I already cannot wait to find out what classic murder mystery concept Hindle turns his hand to in his next novel!

The Murder Hame by Tom Hindle is published today by Cornerstone (an imprint of Penguin Random House) and you can now buy a copy from your favourite local book shop!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me by the publisher, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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