Thursday 14 December 2023


Book review: Murder All Inclusive by Alastair Puddick [blog tour]

What's more festive than a whodunnit set in the hot Spanish sun at an all-inclusive hotel?! Okay, it's maybe not the most Christmassy setting but I do love a dash of murder this time of year – and I was delighted to dive into a to me entirely new series with Murder All Inclusive by Alastair Puddick. 

About Murder All Inclusive

Freddie Winters is a crime writer with one successful novel under his belt. But after squandering his generous advance within record speed and struggling to find a great idea for his next book, he reluctantly agrees to appear at a new crime festival. Because not only does it come with a decent appearance fee but it also includes an all-inclusive paid trip to Spain, where the event takes place.

But as Freddie's a grumpy and anti-social person, who isn't the kindest about his fellow authors in attendance, it doesn't take long for him to end up in a public row. That is only the start of his problems, however, because when the person he was arguing with ends up dead, he quickly becomes murder suspect number one. Despite having the Spanish police on his heels, Freddie cannot help but get involved even more. After all, if he does some investigating himself and finds the killer, he thinks they will finally leave him alone (and he might get a good book idea out of it too!).

My review

Surprisingly, this isn't the first novel I've read in which someone goes on a murderous spree at a literary festival. Anthony Horowitz was first on my reading list when his fictionalised alter ego gets embroiled in a murder investigation at a book festival off the coast of England in A Line to KillAnd Katy Watson merges the setting with today's renewed love for Agatha Christie as her debut novel, The Three Dahlias, takes place at a festival for a fictional murder mystery writer inspired by the queen of crime. 

Yet despite the concept not being wholly unique to me (which isn't that surprising given the amount of murderous reads on my book shelves), Murder All Inclusive felt very different from the other novels with similar starting off points I've read. 

First of all, this time around the story doesn't take place in the UK, instead author Alastair Puddick transports his characters to an all-inclusive hotel in Spain. With sunshine, swimming pools, sun beds, and scrumptious food buffets, it creates an entirely different backdrop – while still providing the "locked room" vibe as all the action takes place in one building: a hotel. 

Secondly, protagonist Freddie Winters is like none other I've read. Quite frankly he's a prick. And from the moment he tries to steal someone else's better seat on the flight to Spain, I felt an intense dislike for him. This initially made is slightly harder for me to get into the story (I was just constantly annoyed by Freddie) but it's worthwhile sticking with him, as a lot of his actions start to make sense as the plot – and his background – unfolds. That doesn't excuse his behaviour, of course, but you do get used to it and he does develop into more than a one-dimensional jerk. 

What I most enjoyed about this novel though (aside from the mystery at hand) is all the literary references and glimpses into this cut-throat world. As a reader you cannot help but imagine which real-life authors and events inspired those within the pages. And while we'll never know for certain, I certainly speculated and have some ideas about what deals, book series, and writers weren't entirely fictional...

And the murder mystery itself was a goodie too. I did guess whodunnit fairly early on, but it didn't hinder my enjoyment of Murder All Inclusive in the slightest, because both the author's and Freddie's red herrings made me doubt myself a few times (even if, in the end, I turned out to be right). 

Murder All Inclusive by Alastair Puddick really is a murder mystery all-inclusive, with outrageous characters, a very fun setting, and a clever but solvable whodunnit at its heart. Whilst it's the second in a series, the book was told in such a way that new readers don't feel like they're missing crucial pieces of the puzzle to be able to fully understand the story and figure out the murder mystery. So whether you're an existing fan of the series or you're simply craving some sunshine with a dash of murder this Christmas season – this is the read for you. 

Murder All Inclusive by Alastair Puddick is published by Raven Crest Books and you can now buy your copy from your favourite local book shop!

Blog tour stops for Murder All Inclusive by Alastair Puddick

This review for Murder All Inclusive is a part of the official blog tour for the launch of the book. Make sure to check out the other stops too!

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

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