A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway. But when the storm hits, no one is getting away. Soon, one of the guests turns up dead- it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.
...a disparate group of guests make their way to a remote hotel in the Catskill mountains. Lapena swiftly takes away all trappings of modernity by enveloping the hotel in an ice storm – no reception, no phone lines, no electricity, no internet – so that, when a body, is discovered their first morning, the group find themselves in the middle of a classic mystery ... Just in case it’s not obvious enough that we’re in the middle of a homage to classic crime fiction, one of the guests finds an old Agatha Christie on the bedside table.
Told from multiple perspectives, An Unwanted Guest opens as a group of guests arrives for a weekend getaway at Mitchell’s Inn ... after a scream shatters the guests peace, and a body...is found at the bottom of the inn’s staircase, relaxation and pampering are out of the question. Especially after a second body — that of a mysterious novelist who has sequestered herself to her room to write — is discovered.
An Unwanted Guest is a nice shout-out to Dame Agatha, and Lapena sets things up like a classic whodunit. She introduces the characters and then sets them in a circumstance from which they cannot immediately escape. When guests begin to turn up dead, one by one, it will be a mad scramble to identify who the unwanted guest is before everyone is doomed ... very much a modern-day telling of a classic Agatha Christie plotline that is masterfully designed. Lapena knows and respects this type of murder mystery, and the end result is a novel that demands to be read in one sitting --- preferably not while you are staying at a quaint little inn or a bed and breakfast in the midst of a winter snowfall!