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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
What better way for Larry Holmes to spend a weekend than attending a crime fiction convention? Weekends Can be Murder by Arlene F. Marks brings a murder mystery to life. On his way to the convention, he can't resist pulling over to help Selena Watt who just happens to be the organizer of the same convention. The event is supposed to end with an epic weekend solving a murder mystery at a historic location – a lovely Victorian summer house. At first, everything seems to be going off without a hitch until things take an all-too-real turn. Now Larry is confronted with a game of cat and mouse with a real-life killer.
A carefree weekend turns deadly, creating the perfect catalyst to draw Selena and Larry together as they team up (much like Holmes and Watson) to uncover clues, suspects, and motives. The mystery serves as a great introduction to these characters and a way to meet Selena and Larry individually. The moment when they first meet gives some insight into their mindsets and this is the first step toward their eventual partnership in the mystery. The draw between Watt and Holmes is immediate when he stops to help her on the side of the road. This spark steadily grows through to the end of the story.
The Sherlock references are clear from the beginning with the use of Watt and Holmes and pairing the two together to solve a real mystery against the backdrop of a crime fiction convention. Arlene F. Marks uses poignant language to create finely crafted details and the specific choices feel reminiscent of the language Conan Doyle used and give elegance to the writing. The story has an interesting format that weaves various interludes throughout to add eeriness and a literary chill. The house has a presence of its own with a perspective that makes it feel like another character as it's built to endure hardships and weather all things with a family. It has a specific purpose within the story as more than a setting. Weekends Can be Murder is hard to resist with lovely writing, engaging dynamics, and a delightful mystery.