Oh, how I love a good murder mystery. Even the cheesy kind. And even the wonderfully written kind–I’ve everything Agatha Christie ever wrote on my bookshelf. So I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when I received The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffith. (It was actually released in January 2011, but I got the advanced reading copy?)

And it was good.

Griffiths actually won the Mary Higgins Clark award, which is saying something since Mary Higgins Clark is supposedly the new Agatha Christie. (She’s not.) I digress.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way, because I did really enjoy reading this book. It just took me awhile to realize that I enjoyed reading it. I mean, I was a good chapter in before I even understood who any of the characters were. There were no names for several pages, and then suddenly there were names. No matter how good the writing, that’s hard for any reader to keep track of.

And of course there’s the matter of the ending. There were many twists and turns in the novel, as there should be in any murder-mystery, but the ending just kind of left me saying, “huh?” I didn’t really have any information that would lead me to the conclusion, and one of the fun parts about reading a mystery is that you kind of play along like a sidekick detective. There are bonus points if you guess the culprit correctly, you know.

Flabbergasted and confused as I was, the story was still good. The case and characters were well developed, relatable, and interesting, and there was good side story development to keep them that way. The book also seemed strongly researched, which only enhanced the rather fantastic imagery. And Griffiths is a talented writer, which is almost always on the top of my list.

All in all, if you want a good mystery read, I bet you’d enjoy kicking back with The House at Sea’s End. And if you read it, tell me if you were surprised at the end?!

Sarah Ann Noel is a freelance writer, blogger, and public relations professional. She blogs “Read Alert” every week and covers other Denver-related events and thoughts on writing and motherhood on her personal blog. Check back every week for reviews, literary events, and other bookish finds.