An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

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“A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . . . but when the storm hits, no one is getting away.”

Many mystery novels are compared to the works of Agatha Christie, but most don’t even come close. It seems like the go-to way of marketing mysteries these days, and while I don’t tend to buy into the hype, sometimes my interest is piqued. This was the case with An Unwanted Guest, which drew me in from the description alone. It is a cold, winter weekend in the Catskills, and Mitchell’s Inn is the perfect getaway for those looking for a few cozy days, unplugged from technology. The weekend starts off well enough, for most of the guests, however when a blizzard cuts off the electricity and all contact with the outside world, the guests have to make the best of it. That is until one of them is found dead. And then another. Panic sets in, but with no way to leave and no way to alert authorities, all they can do is wait for help and attempt to survive.

This is my favourite kind of mystery, with a handful of characters in an isolated location, a murder, and the gradual piecing together of clues to find the culprit. An Unwanted Guest truly delivers and gave me all the Agatha Christie vibes along the way. The author does a great job of introducing the characters right from the beginning and making an immediate impression of who each of them are. At no point is it confusing as to who is who, which can sometimes be the case with stories that have multiple character perspectives. The location is fully brought to life along with the increased feeling of desperation that accompanies the outdoor conditions and unfolding of events. An Unwanted Guest is the perfect, cozy, page-turning mystery, and one that has found its way to my favourites shelf.

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