Dead and Gondola by Ann Claire | #BookReview #CozyMystery #AgathaChristie

In this series debut, a mysterious bookshop visitor dies under murderous circumstances, compelling the Christie sisters and their cat, Agatha, to call on all they’ve learned about solving mysteries from their favorite novelist.

“A fair-play plot, vivid characters, fascinating facts about Dame Agatha, and an intelligent and appealing protagonist make this a winner.”—Publishers Weekly

Ellie Christie is thrilled to begin a new chapter. She’s recently returned to her tiny Colorado hometown to run her family’s historic bookshop with her elder sister, Meg, and their beloved cat, Agatha. Perched in a Swiss-style hamlet accessible by ski gondola and a twisty mountain road, the Book Chalet is a famed bibliophile destination known for its maze of shelves and relaxing reading lounge. At least, until trouble blows in with a wintry whiteout. A man is found dead on the gondola, and a rockslide throws the town into lockdown—no one in, no one out.

The victim was a mysterious stranger who’d visited the bookshop. At the time, his only blunders had been disrupting a book club and leaving behind a first-edition Agatha Christie novel, written under a pseudonym. However, once revealed, the man’s identity shocks the town. Motives and secrets swirl like the snow, but when the police narrow in on the sisters’ close friends, the Christies have to act.

Although the only Agatha in their family tree is their cat, Ellie and Meg know a lot about mysteries and realize they must summon their inner Miss Marple to trek through a blizzard of clues before the killer turns the page to their final chapter.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Dead and Gondola by Ann Claire is the start of a delightful new cozy series featuring the Christie sisters and their wonderful cat, Agatha.

Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):

So many things have excited me to read this new series: it’s set around a bookstore, there’s a cat named Agatha Christie, and it’s about sisters – Ellie and Meg. I love family themes, and it seems like any story featuring sisters will have to have some strong family themes. Plus, a cat named Agatha Christy…well, my heart swoons.

Actual Reading Experience:

I loved all the Agatha Christie references – from her personal life to her mysteries and lead characters. They are all used at various times to describe what is happening in the mysteries as a comparison. You may notice that I said mysteries plural – yes, there is more than one mystery. Someone is murdered, someone goes missing, something is stolen, and more. It may be excessive, but I still enjoyed it very much.

I also love the family themes that run throughout the story. Ellie has recently returned home to help her sister with the family bookstore. They have a great relationship, but Ellie must readjust to being back in the small town she grew up in. It is all so relatable and adds depth to the characters that no other situation could have done so effectively.

The mystery has many red herrings and twists that kept me stumped most of the time. I figured out who did it before the reveal, but I wasn’t sure why. I thought all the twists and red herrings did an excellent job of keeping the puzzle pieces juggled around and the suspense high.


Ellie Christie is the younger of the two Christie sisters. She has returned home to help with the family bookstore, where she lives with the family cat, Agatha Christie.

Meg Christie is the older of the two sisters. She’s a single mom with a teenage daughter and has always lived in Last Word. She ran the bookstore with her parents until they decided to leave for an extended period, giving her and her sister ownership of the store.

Rosie Christie is Meg’s daughter and is an unusually delightful teen. She loves to bake and brings different logical influences to the sisters detecting hobby.

Gram is the sister’s grandmother and is often found Marpling. What is Marpling? It’s sitting in the corner knitting while also collecting all the gossip to help solve the case – just like Agatha Christie’s beloved sleuth Ms. Marple

Narration & Pacing:

The story is told through Ellie Christie using first-person narration. Since she’s at a personal crossroads, she makes a very intriguing narrator. I enjoyed her voice and seeing the story through her eyes.

The pace should be quick due to the narration style and short chapters, but it is more of a medium pace. I believe this is due to the many details in each chapter. I loved all the details, but perhaps that was part of the problem. I wanted to catch and ponder each and every one.


The setting is focused on the Book Chalet, which is in Last Word, Colorado. I love all the bookish details in the setting, and I found it very cool!

Read if you like:

  • Agatha Christie
  • Cozies set in bookish settings
  • Family themes

Overall Rating: (4.25)


Writing Quality10
Character Development8
‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness10
Use of Setting10
All scores, except the overall rating, are on a scale of 1-10. The overall rating is converted to the standard 5-point system.

18 Replies to “Dead and Gondola by Ann Claire | #BookReview #CozyMystery #AgathaChristie”

  1. Great review! I’ve read so few cosy mysteries but every time I see one I want to read them ASAP, especially cos they have such punny titles! 😂 I haven’t read any Agatha Christie (I know…) so the refs might go over my head but you’ve really piqued my interest! I love the sound of the bookstore setting, the mystery and the familial relationships, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that in regards to Agatha Christie 😂. And yes, this is a delightful new cozy series and I guarantee it will make you want to pick up an Agatha Christie novel 😊


  2. I love the name of the town… Last Word. The characters sound great, and with books and a cat this sounds like a winning cozy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this book! It made me want to move to a snowy town and open a book store 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The pace surprises me. Given your comments, I expected it to be too fast, if anything. This sounds like a story I’d enjoy, regardless. (I’d probably get caught up in the details, too.) Thanks, Tessa.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful review, Tessa. I have this book as the synopsis really called to me. I am excited to get to it. I love when there are multiple things going on as well as life getting in the way, it makes it more realistic. I can’t wait to get to this one. I wonder if it is on audio??

    Liked by 1 person

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