Tuesday, June 2, 2015

*Challenge Review* House of Harwood by Olivia Batker Pritzker

Genre: Mystery
Published: December 10, 2014
Pages: 74
Ages: 14+


On the fourth Thursday of November, without fail, families across the United States gather for Thanksgiving. Attendance is mandatory, whether or not you want to be there.

Thanksgiving at the Harwood residence looks like a happy affair, all overseen by the sharp eyes of Granny Harwood. To an outsider, the wealthy Harwood family is a tight-knit group with few disputes and a strong commitment to family. Nothing could spoil this special time.

Nothing, that is, except for Uncle Victor dropping dead at the dinner table.

When it becomes clear that Victor has been poisoned, old wounds and grudges threaten to tear the Harwoods apart.

So who killed Uncle Victor? Was it John James, who has never thought much of his sister Victoria's husband? Could it be Victoria, who suspects her husband once had an affair with her brother's long-dead wife? Or perhaps Granny, who would do anything to protect the Harwood family legacy?

A satiric examination of family dynamics, "House of Harwood" strips away one family's carefully constructed image, revealing the deception, anger, and resentment bubbling just beneath the veneer of normalcy.


I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program.

This was an intriguing whodunit about a wealthy family, somewhat similar to the game Clue. We found out immediately where and quickly with what the deed was done, but it's not until the end that we find out it was Professor Plum that carried out the nefarious deed. (Professor Plum is not actually a character in this story.)

I would like to say that I was surprised by the revelation of the culprit and that there were twists that I never saw coming, but I can't. The "surprises" were rather predictable and the guilty party was pretty obvious early on, at least to me. But the trip was still enjoyable in spite of this predictability and it wasn't needlessly drawn out just to fill more pages. I don't generally like novellas because I like my books to last me more than an hour, but this was the perfect size for this story.

Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars because it was an enjoyable read that wasn't unnecessarily long, but I would have liked a little less predictability from it. I would still recommend it to people who enjoy quick simple mysteries and the game Clue. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

When she’s not traveling the world, Olivia Batker Pritzker lives and writes in Boston, Massachusetts. She has degrees in comparative literature and psychology.

Challenge Scorecards

This novella is a mystery, so I used it to fulfill my mystery requirement for both book bingo and the Popsugar reading challenge. 

Other categories it would fulfill include

A book by a female author
A book I could finish in a day
A book by an author I'd never read before

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