The Severn family—Jeff and his wife Phyllis, Lynette and her new fiancé, and single Andy—has gathered at the mountain home of their grandmother, Mary Agnes Severn, to celebrate Thanksgiving and hear an announcement regarding their late grandfather’s will. With news of an escaped convict in the hills, everyone is barely settled in before a huge snowstorm strands them in the large old house with only gas lamps and lanterns to keep the darkness away. Local sheriff Roger Dickerson arrives to check on the family and seek shelter from the storm. Sparks fly between him and Andy as long-held passions bubble just under the surface, but before they can address them, Mary Agnes’s three servants are murdered one by one. Who is the murderer? Is it the escaped convict? Is it someone in the house? Everyone has a motive, and everyone has the means. What’s going on between Andy and Marcus the handyman? What’s going on between Phyllis and Marcus? Is there something going on between Roger and Marcus? It’s (snow)bound to be a wild week of murder, mystery, and mayhem!
My first impression was one where I wondered what the heck was going on with the cover. I love covers, and this one annoyed me with the way the faces were covered up in a similar manner to ill-placed price stickers in shops do it. I got over it quickly though as what matters most is the meat of the story, which turned out to be another bit of an odd duck.
It’s very old school, really working the “all gathered together and there’s a killer” trope and is firmly tongue in cheek. Luckily it does it quite well. Fans of Wodehouse may enjoy the double reveal at the end. Now, what didn’t work for me: it was too heavy with dialogue, so much so that this read more like a screenplay. The descriptions also got caught up in minutia. These things should have been pruned back. So, not a serious mystery and not literature for the ages, but for days when you need a light rainy day read, this is a good bet.