All Dressed Up by Jilly Gagnon, 4 Stars

The weekend getaway at a gorgeous hotel should have been perfect. But Becca is smarting from her husband Blake’s betrayal and knows that the trip is just an expensive apology attempt. Still, the drinks are strong, and the weekend has an elaborate 1920s murder mystery theme. She decides to get into the spirit and enjoy their stay. 

Before long, the game is afoot: Famed speakeasy songstress Ida Crooner is found “murdered,” and it’s up to the guests to sniff out the culprit. Playing the role of Miss Debbie Taunte, an ingenue with a dark past, Becca dives into the world of pun-heavy clues, hammy acting, and secret passages, hoping to take her mind off her marital troubles.

Then, the morning after they arrive, the actress playing Ida’s maid fails to reappear for her role. Everyone assumes she flaked out on the job, but when snooping for clues as “Debbie,” Becca finds evidence that the young woman may not have left of her own free will.

Told over a nail-biting forty-eight hours and interspersed with in-game clues, set pieces, and character histories from the flapper-filled mystery nested inside a modern one, All Dressed Up is a loving tribute to classic whodunits and a riveting exploration of the secrets we keep.

My Review:

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of a murder mystery dinner, or a weekend. But probably not intrigued enough to actually go on one. And Becca, our heroine in All Dressed Up, probably wouldn’t have signed up for it either. Her husband, Blake, has wisked her away for a romantic weekend to make up for the fact that he cheated on her with his young, gorgeous, coworker. Of course, he somehow neglected to tell her that their somewhat dysfunctional friends will be there and it’s a murder mystery weekend. Fun, right?

Imagine her surprise, when someone dies on the first night at the cocktail party. And then imagine how pleased she is to find out that it’s all fictional and part of the mystery. Regardless, she decides to play along. But just as that happens, a real life mystery begins to unfold, blurring the lines between fiction and reality.

I really enjoyed this book. The murder mystery aspect was a lot of fun and drew me in. The characters were richly drawn and believable. And I even felt like I understand the dynamics behind Blake and Becca. My one complaint was that I felt like it was a little bit of a Scooby Doo ending. Just me? I’m curious as to what others thought.

Special thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out now.

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