How To Be Death - Amber Benson
How To Be DeathA Calliope Reaper-Jones Novel
Note: If you haven’t read the first three books in this series – DEATH’S DAUGHTER, CAT’S CLAW, and SERPENT’S STORM, this review contains huge and unavoidable spoilers.
Due to recent events, Callie Reaper-Jones is now Capital-D Death. Her first formal event is the Death Dinner and Masquerade Ball. The Dinner takes place on Halloween Eve, and attendees include the entire Board of Death, Inc., and pretty much everyone who is anyone in the supernatural world. The timing in on purpose, since for the twenty-four hours of All Hallow’s Eve, magic essentially leaves the world, reinstated at midnight on All Saint’s Day.
Hosting the party isn’t nearly as glamorous as Callie thought it would be. And just when she thinks the night is over, she finds a decapitated corpse in her bedroom. It’s one of the guests from the dinner. A very shapely Goddess of a guest who was there with Callie’s ex, Daniel. It might look bad for Callie, but as it turns out she’s never really a suspect. However, with all the magic being absent, it’s not like this Goddess is going to walk away from this. She’s really-dead. In other news, the book that Callie is supposed to keep safe, a book with instructions on how to be death, or failing that, just end the whole shebang, is missing. Fortunately, Edgar Freezay, a retired member of the Psychical Bureau of Investigation is nearby and quite willing to lend a hand in the investigation.
The first part of the book is all about the party, and Callie’s dress, and how the big corporate parties are never as great as you think they’ll be, especially when you’re the host. The murder happens roughly halfway through the story, and from there on, it’s essentially a locked-room mystery. Or maybe a country house weekend murder mystery. Magic doesn’t figure in much, since it’s unavailable during the day covered here. That will either be a disappointment, or an interesting departure, depending on your point of view. A couple of narrative bombs explode in the final pages; cleaning up that mess will clearly be handled in a future volume.
ISBN# 978-1-937007-28-7 (paperback)