POMPOMBERRY HOUSE by Rosen Trevithick

pompomberry houseMy live-in IT guy, otherwise known as Mr. Wonderful, found a replacement screen for my non-working Kindle 3 for cheap, and bless his little gadget-y soul, replaced it successfully!  Whoot! Whoot!  I haven’t been able to use this – my very first Kindle (sigh) — for more than two years.   So what to my wondering eyes should appear but books I had downloaded way long ago.   It was like opening up a surprise box of goodies.

I had been reading some slightly heavier stuff lately, so thought I was ready for some cozy-type mystery, and chose Pomperberry House from my original Kindle.   Good thing, too, cause it was a hoot!

It is about indie writers of e-books, the competition, the struggles, the ambitions, the murders….. oh, pardon me, did I say murders?  One doesn’t associate murders with nice indie authors, does one.  Well, this will have you viewing the indie scene in a whole new light.

Our protagonist, Dee,  writer of a book which has sold something like 800 copies (and at a buck a book not exactly multimillionaire fodder but satisfying nonetheless,) is invited as a last minute fill-in to a 6 person writing retreat in order to create a small anthology to release on the unsuspecting public   market.   Each of the participants will contribute one short story.  They are all known to each other from a forum specifically for indie writers and reviewers.  They convene at a rented property off of the Cornwall coast, a one-house little island that when the tide is in and the causeway is covered,  people need to use a small boat to cross the water to the island.

Well, on the second day, when the only work on the anthology had been done was producing the story ideas, which were all really stupid and bizarre, the caretaker of the property is found dead, stabbed to death, in the kitchen.   Oh the horror!  The Humanity!   The retreat members, all but Dee, want to hide the body because since they were the only ones on the island, they would be the prime suspects.  Dee wants to call the police, but the others don’t.  She goes for her phone to find the battery inexplicably dead.  So she packs up, leaves the house at high tide, but the boat is not at the island side, for some reason it is on the mainland side.  So she wades across the now underwater causeway to find her car with four flat tires.  And no phone.  She remembers a housing development not awfully far from the area, and decides to walk there to call the police.  She gets herself thoroughly lost, walks for hours and finally sees an isolated farmhouse, where no one is home.  She climbs through a window and calls her almost-ex husband to come pick her up.

They get home, call the police, the police take a lot of convincing to go investigate, and when they get there, find the house vacant, no body, no blood, no nothing, except her car with all four tires fully inflated and ready to roll.

Then, weeks later,  events start happening that mimic the dopey stories in the now-released anthology. But one of the stories was about a murder.  And it happened.  And one of the stories is about cannibalism….. and now Dee is scared!

This is satire, and beautifully done.  Each writer is a ‘type’,  and all are obnoxious, egotistical, backbiting characters, and the reviewers on the forum are worse.  It is a great examination of the industry, funny and quirky.  With an ending you’ll just love.




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