If you read a lot of murder mysteries, you’ll know there are certain characters, plot twists and narrative tricks that get reused time and time again. The dim sidekick who needs everything explained to them. The unaccountable coincidence that casts fresh light on the crime. The murder suspect who is only introduced in the last 30 pages.

These tropes are all too familiar to Ernest ‘Ern’ Cunningham, narrator of Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone (Benjamin Stevenson, Penguin) and a self-published author of books on how to write books. He tells us as much in the prologue.

He is, however, determined to be a ‘reliable narrator’ and tell the truth, no matter what – even if the truth is everyone in his family has blood on their hands.

“Some of us, the high achievers, have killed more than once,” he states.

With this as his claim to fame, its little wonder that when the titular family gather in a secluded mountain lodge ahead of Ern’s brother Michael’s release from prison, it’s not just the snow that starts to pile up – the bodies do too.

Michael is the obvious suspect and Ern appoints himself to the case, with unpredictable results.

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone is a fresh and highly entertaining take on the classic murder mystery. If nothing else, it’s proof that no matter how fraught your holiday get-together was, it could have been much, much worse.

Ylla Watkins


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