A CHRISTMAS PARTY WITH MURDER ON THE MENU
It’s Christmas Eve, 1988 and Russell and Joe are among the guests at a lavish party in a celebrity mansion in the heart of Soho.
Television presenter and national treasure, Nathan Bentley has a formidable reputation for legendary parties—with wall-to-wall celebrities, drink flowing, drugs, dancing, ill-tempered Cordon-Bleu chefs laying on the food and world famous musicians providing the entertainment. What could be better for a bunch of waifs and strays on Christmas Eve?
But when a body is found in the courtyard garden before the dessert has been served, questions begin to fly. Did he fall or was he pushed? And who of the many guests and hangers-on had either the means or motive for murder?
Hidden pasts and present jealousies all threaten to destroy a life carefully built in this festive crime caper set in the heart of London’s Soho.
Step right up, don’t be shy, gather around. Grab yourself some eggnog, put on a Rudolf jumper and let me tell you all about the book that unexpectedly became my favourite Christmas story this year!
This whole year I’ve been going on about the Soho Noir Series and how much I love it. I’ve been both anticipating and dreading this sixth and final (for now) instalment for months, anticipating it because a new instalment in this series is always cause for celebration and dreading it because I’m just not ready to say goodbye. That I enjoyed it as much as I did came as no surprise, I just hadn’t expected it to be so Christmassy (no, I did not read the blurb, obviously). As I’d been roaming the internet for non-festive festive reads, I couldn’t be happier when I realized that Smalltown Boy is set at Christmas.
It’s Christmas Eve 1988 and the Red Lion gang (Russell and his boyfriend Freddie, Joe and his boyfriend Mike, and drag queen Patty) are going to a Christmas party. Not just any old Christmas party, no sirree! A lavish, extravagant party organized by celebrity Nathan Bentley in his Soho mansion. Having a jolly good time sounds fabulous does it not, so naturally something is bound to disturb the peace. Although calling it “peace” might be stretching: between Nathan’s new boyfriend, his ex-wife, his ex-lovers and his lovesick PA, there’s quite a lot of tension in the air and drama in the room. However, all that becomes insignificant when a body is found. Murder, an accident? Fortunately, my favourite sleuths are right there. Less fortunately, their (and my) archenemy Detective Skinner shows up at the scene, swinging his you-know-what around like he always does, making me want to strangle him, and I’m not even a violent person but that man, THAT MAN … I’ve been begging for comeuppance for months now, did I get my wish, I will never tell! This is the part where I urge you once again to buy this series!! If you really want to, you could read this as a standalone, but please don’t. You’d miss so much! So just go ahead and treat yourself to this little rainbow series, or to the limited edition hardback or paperback containing all six novellas, available now from Red Dog Press here!
A little doggie told me that getting Smalltown Boy out there was no easy feat, it was rewritten a few times, Toby Hunter wanting to get it right and so the deadlines were moved back and we had to wait a little longer, but my dear bookish friends I’m here to tell you it was worth the wait, every single second of it! Smalltown Boy truly is the apotheosis of the series, with all the storylines that carried over from the very first novella until the very end drawing to a close.
Smalltown Boy made me laugh, it made me emotional, it made me squeeze my reading buddy (my poor cat) in anticipation, it is the perfect finale to a glorious series, which as a whole is definitely one of my 2019 revelations. I can’t wait for next year, for whatever Toby has in store for his readers, I’ll be there with bells on!