The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson #review

Book cover of The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson

Title: The Three Dahlias
Katy Watson
Series: Dahlia Lively #1
Publisher: Mobius


It wouldn’t be a country house weekend without a little murder. . .

Three rival actresses team up to solve a murder at the stately home of Lettice Davenport, the author whose sleuthing creation of the 1930s, Dahlia Lively, had made each of them famous to a new generation. A contemporary mystery with a Golden Age feel, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Jessica Fellowes – and Janice Hallett and Richard Osman, of course!

In attendance at the VIP fans, staying at house; the fan club president turned convention organizer; the team behind the newest movie adaptation of Davenport’s books; the Davenport family themselves; and the three actresses famous for portraying Dahlia Lively through the decades.

There is national treasure Rosalind King, from the original movies, who’s feeling sensitive that she’s past her prime, TV Dahlia for thirteen seasons, Caro Hooper, who believes she really IS Dahlia Lively, and ex-child star Posy Starling, fresh out of the fame wilderness (and rehab) to take on the Dahlia mantle for the new movie – but feeling outclassed by her predecessors.

Each actress has her own interpretation of the character and her own secrets to hide – but this English summer weekend they will have to put aside their differences as the crimes at Aldermere turn anything but cosy.  

When fictional death turns into real bodies, can the three Dahlias find the answers to the murders among the fans, the film crew and the family – or even in Lettice’s books themselves?

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My review:

The Three Dahlias is a fun and charming whodunit that will appeal to fans of classic crime novels. The book follows three actresses who have all played the role of Dahlia Lively, a much-loved detective character created by a fictional Agatha Christie-like author Lettice Davenport. The three women are invited to a Dahlia convention at Lettice’s country house, but soon, life begins to imitate the books when a murder is committed…

The book is set in the modern day, but the setting at the convention (in a historic manor house) gives it a golden-age feel that I really enjoyed. The author does a great job of incorporating classic crime novel tropes, such as the gathering of suspects in a room, into the story whilst also being self-aware of these heavily used plot devices. I also appreciated the fact that the characters were all likeable and relatable, even the ones who were suspects.

The small criticisms I have are that the book can be a bit slow at times, due to the switching between perspectives, and there were some twee parts (in my opinion) that I felt were a little cheesy – but then again, this doesn’t pretend to be a gritty crime novel!

Overall, I really enjoyed The Three Dahlias and would recommend it to fans of classic crime novels. It’s a gentle but fun and suspenseful mystery with entertaining characters and a satisfying ending. I’m looking forward to reading book two in the series which has just been released!

My rating: 4/5


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