Seth carried the dessert carefully through the kitchen. He had added a finishing touch of slices of plump, fresh apricot and placed the whole perfect confection ready in a bowl of ice to keep it at the correct temperature. He checked that the label which read For the special delight of Dr Thallomius was in place and held his creation out to Tiffany as they arrived at the lobby, where Mr and Mrs Bunn were hovering anxiously. Synopsis:
Seth Seppi is the downtrodden kitchen boy at The Last Chance Hotel. Since his father disappeared, Seth has slaved away in the hotel’s kitchen. He is bullied by the owners, the horrible Bunn family, not least their daughter Tiffany.
A magical gathering takes place at the hotel, and a prominent magician is murdered. Seth is the main suspect – except he is innocent. He must solve the mystery and clear his name, but the hotel holds strange secrets. Magical secrets …
Imagine Dumbledore was murdered in a closed-room mystery. Throw in a spooky hotel, a downtrodden kid, and a talking cat and you have the makings of a brilliant story. I love the mix of magic and murder-mystery.
The murder-mystery is set-up Agatha Christie style. A series of suspects arrive at the hotel, the murder takes place in a locked room, and the suspects are investigated before the mystery is solved. I loved the solution. I had a shrewd idea who had dunnit, but there is so much more to the story, and the answer completely satisfied me.
I adore the setting – the remote hotel and the magical company. This isn’t in-your-face, solves-all magic. It is subtler and spookier. Think strange shadows and mysterious books. I’m a sucker for secret societies and I enjoyed learning more about Dr Thallomius and his cronies.
I liked the wide cast of characters, from the miserable Bunns to Dr Thallomius to Angelique with her magical cane and a few secrets of her own. Seth has been pushed around by the Bunns for so long that he doesn’t know his own worth. I love how he developed across the story until he was able to see a future outside the LCH kitchen.
A good mystery with a touch of magic. Highly recommended.
Thanks to Chicken House Books and Jazz B for my copy of The Last Chance Hotel. Opinions my own.