Rating if the Book Were a Movie: PG-13
Writer and Creator: Joshua Werner
Art and Design Assists: Lyx Lyon
Cover: Joshua Werner
Publisher: Source Point Press
Story: 3.7 Stars
Artwork: 3.8 Stars
Cover Artwork: 3.8 Stars
Dialogue: 3.6 Stars
Mechanics: 3.6 Stars
Editing: 3.7 Stars
About the Book:
Annie Sullivan is 21. She should be having the time of her life and making memories. Instead she’s beside herself. Last year her mother was murdered with no evidence of a struggle and no viable suspects. A few months ago her father was killed in a hit and run accident with suspicious circumstances.
As a result of this, she’s become the legal guardian of her 16 year old brother. Annie is terrified that she or her brother are the next targets on the killer’s list. She reaches out to a private investigator for help.
When I was younger I loved Two Minute Mysteries, starring Dr. Haledjian. Like the title would suggest, these were quick stories that the reader would go through and search for clues to solve the mystery. They were fun; but by their nature stories were never deep.
During the pandemic my wife and I bought a Sherlock Holmes game. The object of the game was to match wits with Holmes and see how many interviews it took to solve a particular case compared to the great detective. The first couple of cases went well. We were only one or two rounds of questioning behind. After that the wheels fell off the wagon. After spending hours on a case we’d find that the path of discovery we were taking wasn’t remotely close to the path needed to catch the perpetrators.
Murder by Mail is a wonderful middle ground between those two. You get to play detective and go over the facts, which have a lot of depth to them, and see how close to a correct answer you are. From start to finish you have invested about 15-20 minutes. I can get behind brain teasers like this!
I liked how we got a sense of who Annie was. Even though she’s 21 she’s still a child in a lot of ways. Having the responsibilities of parenthood thrust on her in the way that they were would be difficult for anyone. She’s in way over her head and has to deal with far more than she’s ready to.
Murder by Mail wasn’t on my radar. I found out about it when I saw it on the shelves at my local comic book store. When I saw it I had to get it. This cover had plenty of appeal to it. It creates intrigue and pulls would-be buyers in.
While the book is in a comic format, it doesn’t have any panels. Aside from the correspondence that we get to see there isn’t any of the traditional dialogue or onomatopoeia that you would find in its contemporaries. I enjoyed the change of pace.
As a geek on a budget I believe Murder by Mail is well worth the price of admission if you like games where you get to be the detective. If those aren’t your jam, this might be a good way to get into the genre without a huge time or financial investment.