A Death at the Party by Amy Stuart

If you think that A Death at the Party is just another whodunnit, think again! Written by Amy Stuart, the number one bestselling author of Still Mine, Still Water, and Still Here, which I’ve not yet read, but are ones I will now seek out. Why? Because Stuart hits this one out of the ballpark.

A Death at the Party is a combination of literary thriller and mystery, classically told.”

From the first words of this novel, I was engaged. We enter the story during the evening of a party, going on in full tilt. Here are the opening lines:

“It takes some digging to locate a pulse. I catch a sudden sob in my throat then press two fingers into his jugular notch. It’s faint, fluttery. He breathes, long gaps between sharp inhales. One of his hands clenches into a fist then relaxes. I pull my phone from the pocket of my silk jumpsuit and unlock it. My thumb twitches, hovering over the numbers.

I won’t dial. I won’t call for help.”

There’s a dead body in the basement, and while guests clink glasses, nibble fancy hors d’oeuvres, and laugh the night away, there’s something much more ominous occurring one floor below. But what? Why is there a dead body in the basement? This is where the skill of the author comes in. Amy Stuart unwinds the events starting with the morning of the party. Nadine Walsh is planning a party of the season to honour her famous writer mom’s birthday. She was raised by her poor single mother, who was tossed out of her family when she became pregnant. Reunited and accepted back into life with her parents and younger sister Colleen, her mom Marilyn, can once again bring her little girl back to the small community from where she came. Nadine is just a girl as secrets start to build with her aunt Colleen, whom young Nadine idolized. Fast forward, her mother Marilyn becomes a bestselling world-famous author, and they go from rags to riches. As we become more acquainted with adult Nadine, now a mother of two teenage children, a loving wife to a successful husband, and a devoted daughter to her single and famous mother, we learn much about her backstory. So deftly told by Stuart that one immediately feels as though we are living on Nadine’s block, meeting her at the caterers, and greeting her as she clips flowers in her garden – because we are surely invited to this garden party too.

As Nadine’s story unfolds, being told in a single day, composed of three parts – Morning, Afternoon, and Evening – more of her hidden secrets pop out of the closet, one by one. Stuart leads us through a meticulous dance from a summer garden party into a darkened past where memory is blotchy, facts are blurred and incidents surface as if they are boulders being unearthed. The tension is kept tight and fast-paced throughout, and the ending arrives with a bang!

A Death at the Party is a combination of literary thriller and mystery, classically told. The intertwining of what Nadine remembers, and how this is revealed, along with the pressures of modern life steer the reader to an ending you won’t soon forget. I enjoyed this searing tale, expertly told, and beautifully paced.

Friends, if you are looking for a can’t-put-down book, Amy Stuart has it – and A Death at the Party is it!

Amy Stuart is the #1 bestselling author of three novels: Still MineStill Water, and Still Here. Shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best First Novel Award and winner of the 2011 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition, Amy is the founder of Writerscape, an online community for hopeful and emerging writers. Amy lives in Toronto with her husband and their three sons.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster (March 7 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1668009102
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1668009109

Managing Editor

TMR’s Managing Editor Carrie Stanton has a BA in Political Science from the University of Calgary. She is the author of The Jewel and Beast Bot, and picture books, Emmie and the Fierce Dragon and The Gardener. Carrie loves to write stories that grow wings and transport readers everywhere.  She reads and enjoys stories from every genre.