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Reviewed by Michael Gardner for Readers' Favorite
Who by Nanette L. Avery begins with a classic Agatha Christie setup. We meet a collection of men and women who have been invited to an all-expenses-paid weekend at a manor house. Some know one another to a greater or lesser degree, some are strangers. All have a dubious past. Their host is the mysterious librarian—yes, librarians are allowed to be mysterious too!—Ms. Rosebud. As the plot thickens, Ms. Rosebud reveals that this oddly familiar collection of characters has been the subject of defamatory books published by the notorious company, Babbitt Publishing. Now the cast is gathered, there’s a discussion of compensation. Naturally, any agreement comes at a price and what ensues is the perfect setup for murder.
This kind of satire, which pays homage to Agatha Christie in spades, is difficult to do well. It runs the risk of becoming self-parody. However, Nanette L. Avery has done an excellent job of crafting her tale. Who is a very layered story, containing stories within stories and more references to other stories than you can throw a smoking gun at. She manages the humor with a deft touch, with dialogue that reads like deadpan comedy, sly authorial asides, and crafty descriptions that made me chuckle as many out of the ordinary events are presented in a mundane manner. While I believe murder mystery fans are going to get the most out of this very enjoyable book, I think it will appeal to a wide range of other readers too. Well worth the read.