How to Crash a Killer Bash
A Party Planning Mystery with Presley Parker by Penny Warner
Review: Alliterative party planner Presley Parker has organized a murder mystery party at a gala fund raiser for the de Young Museum in San Francisco when the murder victim actually becomes a murder victim in How to Host a Killer Bash, the second mystery in this series by Penny Warner.
Dead is the museum's major fund-raiser and philanthropist Mary Lee Miller. When she greeted Presley just before her murder, "she wore a pink Chanel suit and matching stiletto heels that would have made killer weapons. Peeking out of her pink Coach bag was a teeth-baring, pink-ribboned purse-pooch. A pit bull wrapped in a poodle's clothing? The metaphor fit both the dog and woman." Unfortunately, Presley's friend and part-time co-worker Delicia "Dee" Jackson is found over the body with a knife its back, and is prime suspect number one. It's not much of a stretch: during rehearsal, Dee had recreated the Psycho scene in which the victim is repeatedly stabbed with a knife and her portrayal of the killer was quite authentic to all who witnessed it. Having previously had a run-in with the SFPD Chief of Police, Luke Melvin, who takes charge of the investigation, Presley decides to do a little investigating on her own in an effort to clear her friend of murder.
When the author seems to have had a bit of fun writing a book, that usually translates into a lot of fun for a reader reading the book. Such is the case of How to Host a Killer Bash. It's really hard not to like a book that advises in its opening line, "When planning a murder mystery party, make sure you don't use real weapons as props. They may be too tempting for some of the guests." The characters in the mystery party that serves as the setting for the real murder not only have imaginative names — Nancy Prude, Valley Girl Detective; Hercules Parrot, Blustery Belgian Detective; and the like — but the Alphabet Detective, Kutesy Millstone, is played by a man in drag. The whole premise is entertaining, and that carries through the entire book. The murder mystery plot is not overly complex, but it doesn't need to be. How to Host a Killer Bash is exactly what a modern cozy should be: light and playful, a little romance mixed with a little mystery, and thoroughly enjoyable start to finish.
Acknowledgment: Penny Warner provided an ARC of How to Crash a Killer Bash for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
How to Survive a Killer Séance
Obsidian (Mass Market Paperback), March 2011
ISBN-13: 9780451232793; ISBN-10: 0451232798
Location(s) referenced in How to Crash a Killer Bash: San Francisco, California
— ♦ —
How to Crash a Killer Bash by Penny Warner — A Party Planning Mystery with Presley Parker
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: August 2010
List Price: $6.99