A fun, modern twist on the classic whodunnit, set in the glamorous surrounds of Raffles Hotel.
The Raffles Affair is a light-hearted murder mystery featuring the elegant former MI6 agent Victoria West. A retro, tongue-in-cheek homage to the Golden Age mystery novel epitomised by Agatha Christie.
Beautiful former MI6 agent, Victoria West, arrives at Raffles Hotel in Singapore for the wedding of her good friend, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peyton Latchmore. Fresh from a gruelling three-month assignment in East Africa, Victoria’s plans for a relaxing break come to an abrupt end with the kidnapping of Peyton’s fiancé, the charmingly handsome English financier, James Winstanley.
Warned not to contact the police, Peyton begs Victoria to help. Reluctantly, Victoria agrees. Immediately it is clear the kidnapper knows too much to be a stranger, and Victoria suspects one of the wedding guests is involved. Tensions simmer, as one by one their motives are revealed.
With only 24 hours to make the ransom payment, Victoria must act quickly.
Published 14 September 2021| Publisher: Penguin Random House | RRP: AUD$32.99
My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)
I’m always up for a good whodunnit mystery and being set in The Raffles (Singapore) seems like an absolutely divinely glamourous way to travel from my comfy sofa. Even if I’m not a fan of humidity, it did not disappoint with all the gorgeous description of the décor and the delicious food spread. With an easily likeable protagonist and an engaging mystery, my evening flew by without me noticing the time.
To begin with, however, I struggled mightily with the number of characters. Trying to remember who’s who and how they are connected to the bride/bridgeroom to be was a nightmare. Even at the end, at the unveiling of the villain, I still had to stop for a few seconds to recall how this person fits in this set of characters. At this stage (third month of lockdown), I really don’t know whether it’s just too many characters or it’s my mindset / lack of focus these past few weeks.
About a third of the way, as I sort of got the hang of who’s who and as they mystery begins to develop, I was really drawn into trying to puzzle it out. I failed; soooo did not pick that character at all. Our protagonist, Victoria West, is in every essence a modern intelligent woman who can take care of herself. She also likes to dress well and in all this, she reminds me very much of Miss Phryne Fisher. Unlike Miss Fisher, however, Miss West did not have any kind of dalliance in this novel.
There was one thing that I had a good laugh at is how she ate rambutan by using a sharp knife to cut through the skin. This Asian gal would just use her nail and pierce that thick skin to get to the juicy bit. Granted, it’s a lot messier but that is the delight of rambutan.
The Raffles Affair definitely has all the markings of a golden age whodunnit reminiscent of those of Agatha Christie’s with moneyed cast of characters, a focus on human nature and their unending greed, a Poirot-esque denouement and ending with an air of tragic triumph.
My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts
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