Release date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
When famed psychic Perspicacious Peg predicts a murder will occur at England’s Belief and Beyond conference, her science-minded colleagues recruit twenty-six-year-old budding sleuth Emily Castles to attend the event as a “future crimes investigator.” The suspected victim: celebrated magician Edmund Zenon, who plans to perform a daring stunt at the conference—and is offering fifty thousand pounds to any attendee who can prove that the paranormal exists.
In the seaside town of Torquay, Emily meets a colorful cast of characters: dramatic fortune-teller Madame Nova; kindly Bobby Blue Suit and his three psychic dachshunds; Sarah and Tim Taylor, devastated parents mourning their late son; and religious cult members Hilary, Trina, and the Colonel. Tensions rise as believers in science, the supernatural, and the spiritual clash with one another. But once a body count begins, Emily must excuse herself from the séances and positivity circles, and use old-fashioned detective work to find the killer.
Beyond Belief by Helen Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was the first Helen Smith book I had read, and while it's reminiscent of an old-school Agatha Christie novel, it comes with the authors own unique spin on it. Beyond Belief is light-hearted, quirky, and extremely British. Thankfully there's no descriptive blood and gore, and in between the suspense and action, there is plenty of humor that helps balance it all out, so it will appeal to everyone.
The characters have big personalities, but sometimes it feels like the lead character's, Emily Castle, personality gets lost along the way. I'm wondering if reading the first Emily Castle novel would have helped me see the character more three dimensionally, so I'll try rereading this one after I read Three Sisters and Invitation to Die.
This is a good book to curl up with when you have a free afternoon, just make sure you have plenty of tea and biscuits and you'll feel like you were in airdropped straight into Britain!
Helen Smith is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, The Crime Writers Association and English PEN. She travelled the world when her daughter was small, doing all sorts of strange jobs to support them both – from cleaning motels to working as a magician's assistant – before returning to live in London where she wrote her first novel, which was published by Gollancz (part of the Hachette Group). She writes novels, children's books, poetry, plays and screenplays, and was the recipient of an Arts Council of England Award. She likes dancing but she doesn't like driving. She likes knitting.
Helen Smith's books have reached number one on Amazon's bestseller lists in the US, UK, Canada and Germany. Her first book, Alison Wonderland, was one of the top five bestselling books from Amazon Publishing when it was launched in the US in 2011. In July 2013, following the publication of Invitation to Die, Helen Smith reached the top spot as "America's most popular mystery author" on Amazon.