The Twinning Murders by Shelly Frome

The Twinning Murders by Shelly FromeAll Emily knew was that she had to get back on the field. Start over, start somewhere…retrace where it had all gone wrong.

There’s an awful lot going wrong in The Twinning Murders, the latest book from author Shelly Frome, not the least of which are two suspicious deaths which span the Atlantic.

Emily Ryder is a tour guide based in Lydfield, Connecticut who specializes in taking clients on international jaunts to England. At the start of The Twinning Murders Emily is preparing to take one of the town’s elder statesman, Harriet Curtis, and her siblings Silas and Pru to Lydfield-in-the-moor in Dartmoor, England for the annual Twinning ceremony (an event to celebrate the across-the-pond connection of the two “twin towns”).

A bit of a shakeup is occurring on the U.S. side of the pond, however, as the Gordon Development Company (GDC) has purchased a huge tract of land to pursue the development of a condominium community, an occurrence that would disrupt the idyllic town’s laid back way of life.

When Chris Cooper, retired roofer, conservationist, and head of the town’s Planning Committee, is killed in an accident shortly before the final vote to grant approval to CDG’s project Emily has concerns his death was more than an accident. The hasty, and premature, departure of Harriet to England ahead of the group’s scheduled plans only heightens Emily’s suspicions.

Things don’t get any more clear upon the arrival of Emily, Silas and Pru in tow, in England, where Harriet’s bizarre behavior continues. When Harriet herself winds up dead, also under suspicious circumstances, Emily knows it has to be more than a coincidence and sets herself to getting to the bottom of things.

Technically The Twinning Murders can be called a cozy as the profanity and violence are extremely minimal, the latter taking place primarily off-stage, and Emily is most definitely an amateur sleuth. Author Shelly Frome has also populated The Twinning Murders, on both sides of the Atlantic, with a wonderfully eccentric cast of characters. Unlike the cozies many readers are probably familiar with, however, The Twinning Murders has a genuine old fashioned, Agatha Christie-Miss Marple, British mystery feel to it, even though the bulk of the action takes place in Connecticut.

That British feel extends to the dialog and diction in the book. The characters use many British words and expressions, and the prose is a bit more formal than some readers may be used to encountering. For those not overly familiar with such a presentation this may be a little bit of a hurdle to jump initially, but if you like cozies, especially those with a British flair, you should definitely consider booking a trip to visit the two Lydfields with Emily and see how well you fare figuring out The Twinning Murders.

Shelly Frome is a Professor Emeritus of dramatic arts at the University of Connecticut. A former professional actor and theater director, his writing credits include a number of national and international articles on acting and theater, profiles of artists and notable figures in the arts, books on theater and film and mystery novels. His books include The Art and Craft of Screenwriting, Tinseltown Riff, Lilac Moon, The Actors Studio, Sun Dance for Andy Horn, and Playwriting: A Complete Guide to Creating Theater


  • Barry

    December 16, 2010 - 4:02 pm

    I like what you said and appreciate you give time to one of our hard-working authors.

  • sabrina ogden

    December 16, 2010 - 11:03 am

    Great review, Elizabeth!

    • Elizabeth A. White

      December 16, 2010 - 1:15 pm

      It was a bit out of my normal wheelhouse – I do like my profanity and violence 😛 – but it was actually a refreshing change of pace. Good to remember to stray outside the comfort zone every so often.