Keeping Up With The Penguins

Reviews For The Would-Be Booklover

The Mystery Writer – Sulari Gentill

I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of The Mystery Writer since I participated in an Ultimo Press readalong of Sulari Gentill’s previous novel, The Woman In The Library, last month. That was enough to make Gentill a must-read author for me, and I came to this one with high expectations.

The Mystery Writer begins when Theo abandons her law studies in Australia and runs away to Lawrence, Kansas. It’s not as random as it seems – her brother lives there, and she plans to stay with him while she pursues her true career dream of becoming a novelist. She writes her days away in a local cafe/bar, and she gets to know a local best-selling author, Dan Murdoch. They get closer as her manuscript comes together, and just as it’s all about to its zenith, Dan is murdered. Brutally.

Theo is about to discover something sinister going on in the world of publishing – and Dan won’t be the last author to pay the price.

Pour some out for Gentill’s agents, as it must’ve been a real struggle not to take the plot of The Mystery Writer personally. It’s a lot more violent, and a lot more scary, than The Woman In The Library. It’s also less obviously meta, following the traditional mystery-thriller format more closely, but it’s every bit as readable.

Special shout out to my favourite characters: Horse, the dog (who comes through unscathed! we love that in a book), and Zeke, the survivalist doctor who was radicalised by the pandemic.

Benjamin Stevenson called The Mystery Writer “a mischievous twist on mystery novels and the people who write them”. Ultimately, it’s a book about the power of a good story.

Buy The Mystery Writer on Booktopia here. (affiliate link)
Read The Mystery Writer on audiobook via here. (affiliate link)


  1. Got this for my birthday! Looking forward to reading it.

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