New day, new month, new year AND new novel that will definitely hook you from the start. Death in Heels, published today 1st January 2023 by Thomas & Mercer, is the thrilling first instalment in the Dublin Drag Mystery series by Kitty Murphy. Never heard of it? Well, time to change this. But before you read synopsis below, here is how the author Kitty Murphy feels about books.
‘How wonderful to be thinking about books that have brought me joy over the years. Books are amazing! There’s nothing like the feeling of falling into a story, being wrapped up in another world, absorbed in the lives and the experiences within the covers.
For the book that has influenced me, I have to pick Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie. I grew up loving reading Christie, as many of us did, and I reread them all the time. There’s always at least one in my reading stack. I relish the puzzle of a good mystery and I find the resolution of crime fiction is comforting in stark comparison to Real Life. Christie’s rich, warm, wild characters play each scene so brilliantly, they’re always a pleasure to read. If pushed, I’m Poirot over Marple, but picking my favourite is difficult. Today it is Nile. Another day it is The ABC Murders… or Five Little Pigs…
The book that probably means the most to me, is The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy. In the depths of covid despair, I reread the whole series and I adore them just as much as I did when I was eight. At the heart is this amazing friendship between Mildred and Maud, two young girls learning to be witches at Miss Cackle’s Academy. (Also, there are certain people I would very much like to turn into a pig.)
The book I wish I’d written, is Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier. Dark, twisted, gorgeously romantic, and set in the wild Cornish moorland I know, this is my favourite book of all time. I love the nastiness and the mystery of the story, and the strength that Mary Yellen shows. Ripped from the world she loves when her mother dies, she finds herself embroiled in crime and murder, but she doesn’t back down. The scene on the beach never fails to terrify me, and the end of the book is perfect.
I love a good mystery, and I recently read Murder Before Evensong by Rev Richard Coles. I adored the characters, especially Canon Daniel Clement with his dogs and his mother, and there was so much to the story, so many layers. I can’t wait for the next.
The book I’m looking forward to reading is Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal. I read it when it first came out, finding the gorgeously sprayed edges and the beautiful cover irresistible, but it’s my pick for a book club read so I’m really looking forward to getting into it again. Macneal is one of my favourite writers and Nell’s story here is wonderful, from the beautiful beginnings by the sea, to the betrayal of Nell’s family, to the wildness of the circus, to the way Nell grows and lives, and finds friendship and love in her new life.
That’s the core of it for me: friendship, love, and a little bit of murder sprinkled over the story, here and there…’
Death In Heels follows Fi McKinnery, overwhelmed with pride, watching her best friend Robyn perform his drag debut as the dazzling Mae B at Dublin’s premier drag club TRASH. But the evening is ruined when bitchy young queen Eve Harrington lampoons Mae B’s performance and ruins the show. Eve is unceremoniously evicted from the club, and later that night Fi finds her dead, face down in a flooded gutter. The police decide it was an accident and the queens are keen to move on as well, but Fi isn’t so sure. Eve had made plenty of enemies with her casual cruelty and many people might have wanted her dead. Fi is determined to uncover the truth, even though her ‘Hagatha Christie’ sleuthing is driving a wedge between her and Robyn, whose star is now rising at TRASH. Something dark is lurking beneath the feathers, glitter and sequins of Dublin’s drag scene. Fi is determined to protect her friends, even as they distance themselves from her, and to stop the killer before more people die.
Kitty Murphy lives with her husband, Roger, on the very westerly edge of Co. Clare, Ireland. She adores drag in all its forms and crime fiction in all its chilling splendour. Kitty is bi/queer. From a well-spent youth divided equally between the library and the LGBTQ+ scene, it was only a matter of time until both worlds collided in a flurry of fictional sequins and in a book form.
Thank you Rhiannon Morris of FMcM Associates for the invitation to join the blog tour.