Book – The Murder Game

Author – Tom Hindle

Year – 2023

Pages – 377

Genre – Mystery

Another book in that long genre of ‘get back into reading by absorbing very easy to read murder stories’, The Murder Game drew me in by the simple premise of being a murder mystery set during a murder mystery game. I will take my meta in only two layers where I can get it thank you very much.

The small town of Hamlet in Devon is gearing up for a murder mystery night at Hamlet Hall on New Year’s Eve, but there is disquiet in the town due to the new development of a luxury apartment in the old lighthouse. From Edward and Martha whose shop has been broken into, to Nigel and Sylvia who took on the renovations to the detriment of their social standing, and even Justin whose attempts to get hold of the property developer, Damien White, to talk to him for the local paper, everyone seems to have a reason to not be happy as they gather to play the game developed by local boy Will, whose gruesome discovery when he was a child plays on his mind every day. But when one of the players is murdered, they must remain in the old building until they find out what has occurred, and who is the killer.

I’m getting this is asap – for the first time in as long as I can remember, I worked out the killer and exactly what had happened! On page 150 no less. I am terrible at guessing whodidit. Well, sort of. I often get it right simply be being fooled into thinking it is every single named character in every book. Even then, I still sometimes miss it. But I have never been so sure that I was right as I was this time. So well done me. 10/10 for my own deduction.

Which makes it tricky for me to work out how good it is as a book. Was I just unnaturally canny this one time? Or is it a poorly written mystery that anyone could guess? Well, I am going to make Alex read it to see if we can get an inkling there, but suffice to say that for now, I will have to judge it based on other factors.

It rolls along at a great speed, with many twists and turns, and not much time lingering. I think that is a real plus for a novel such as this. And so many of the twists are excellent. In one case, I didn’t even realise there was a mystery to be solved until it was nearly upon us. The characters, despite being high in number, all feel well realised from a very early stage, and the setting well lived in from the off. In terms of understanding what is needed from an offering such as this, I would say that Tom Hindle – on only his second book – totally has a grip of his medium.

I managed to pick up his first book in a charity shop as well, so I won’t have long to find out if this is a real trait of his writing, but ultimately I think we have found another great author with some excellent tales to tell.

8/10