ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – Three Card Murder by J.L. Blackhurst

Three Card Murder by J.L. Blackhurst (aka Jenny Blackhurst) will be published by HQ tomorrow in paperback, ebook and audiobook. My thanks to the publishers for the very striking proof copy.

One sister is a cop.
The other a con artist.
Both are suspects.

DI Tess Fox’s first murder scene has two big problems. One, the victim was thrown from the balcony of a flat locked from the inside. Two, Tess knows him.

But the biggest problem of all is Tess’s half-sister, Sarah. She has links to the deceased and has the skills and criminal background to mastermind a locked-room murder. But she’s a con-artist, not a killer.

When two more bodies turn up, Tess now has three locked room mysteries to solve and even more reason to be suspicious of Sarah. Can she trust someone who breaks the law for a living, even if she is family?

I love the premise of Three Card Murder. Half-sisters: Tess who is a police officer and Sarah who is a con artist, their sibling link always destined to tie them together whilst their career choices pull them apart.

Tess is acting DI on her first murder case. It’s a puzzling locked room murder and who better to help her solve it than a woman who makes illusions look easy. There’s so much more to the cases (for one murder soon turns into more) and to the links between the two women than there at first seems.

I thought this was an inspired premise, firstly in making the protagonists sisters and then for making them polar opposites in terms of life choices. I particularly liked how each approached and solved mysteries, just on different sides of the law. Tess and Sarah are brilliant characters, well-drawn, feisty and brave risk-takers. I really loved the canny tricks in this book, the small cons as well as the (almost) impossible murders. This is such a clever and unique story.

Take a female police detective, add in a few murders and then stir in a hefty dose of Hustle and that’s what you have with Three Card Murder. I thought it was cunning and smart and I think there’s scope for a follow up or a series featuring Tess and Sarah.

J.L. Blackhurst is a pseudonym for Jenny Blackhurst who was born and grew up in Shropshire, where she still lives with her husband, two boys and two beagles. She has a Masters degree in Occupational Psychology and has worked in administration for the Fire Service and retail management before leaving to write full time. She wrote her first book, How I Lost You after giving birth to her son in 2011 and since has written seven psychological thrillers, her first of which won her a silver Nielsen award and became a kindle number one bestseller in the UK and a Spiegel Bestselleren in Germany. She can solve a Rubik’s cube in three minutes.

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