Rutherford gives each character a colorful past and loyalties that could make anyone the culprit, building The Eighth Master into an engrossing whodunit that will keep readers guessing. This clever mystery’s occasional focus on architecture might hinder some readers’ interest, though, especially Neil’s occasional lectures. Despite Rutherford’s love of the subject, the architectural detail that slows down the first 50 pages ultimately doesn’t factor much into the investigation, as the mystery hinges on what’s inside the chateau rather than the chateau itself.
Nevertheless, Rutherford has crafted a lengthy but captivating mystery that checks off all the boxes for the genre, offering a relentless investigation and exciting twists and turns. Like a boulder rolling down the hill faster and faster, the storytelling becomes more urgent and exciting as the investigation continues. The revelations are both surprising and fulfilling, as Rutherford demonstrates mastery of the genre with clues that play fair, a couple of legitimate shocks, and a satisfying ending that clears up all the essential questions. Murder mystery fans, especially the architectural enthusiasts and art lovers among them, will enjoy how The Eighth Master touches on all these subjects to expose the excesses of humanity’s Icarus-like greed.
Takeaway: This memorable whodunit, fascinated with art and architecture, will dazzle fans of the genre.
Great for fans of: Donna Leon’s Transient Desires, Clare Chase’s Mystery on Hidden Lane.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A