The Raffles Affair by Vicki Virtue is a fun, modern twist on the classic whodunnit, set in the glamorous surrounds of Raffles Hotel. Read my review.
The Raffles Affair Synopsis
The Raffles Affair is a light-hearted murder mystery featuring the elegant former MI6 agent Victoria West. A retro, tongue-in-cheek homage to the Golden Age mystery novel epitomised by Agatha Christie.
Beautiful former MI6 agent, Victoria West, arrives at Raffles Hotel in Singapore for the wedding of her good friend, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peyton Latchmore. Fresh from a gruelling three-month assignment in East Africa, Victoria’s plans for a relaxing break come to an abrupt end with the kidnapping of Peyton’s fiancé, the charmingly handsome English financier, James Winstanley.
Warned not to contact the police, Peyton begs Victoria to help. Reluctantly, Victoria agrees. Immediately it is clear the kidnapper knows too much to be a stranger, and Victoria suspects one of the wedding guests is involved. Tensions simmer, as one by one their motives are revealed.
With only 24 hours to make the ransom payment, Victoria must act quickly.
(Penguin SEA, September 2021)
Genre: Mystery, Crime-Detective
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It is no surprise many are seeking escapism in their leisure reading right now, and in The Raffles Affair Vicki Virtue dishes up a generous serving on many levels.
For the travel-starved, this novel offers a mental stop-over amidst the unparalleled luxury and elegance of the Raffles Hotel. From the lush foliage to the furniture to the sheet-count, Virtue conscientiously evokes the timeless opulence, old-world charm and tranquility of this iconic tourist oasis in the heart of bustling modern Singapore; her travel writing skills on full display. And of course, the measure of any hotel stay is the food on offer… this a book best not read on an empty stomach!
Victoria savoured every mouthful, briefly forgetting about the task that lay ahead of them. The roti was flaky and melted in her mouth; the lamb was so tender it almost fell apart on her fork and the eggplant in the Kolhapuri Baingan Masala had soaked up the rich flavours of coconut and sesame seed to perfection. She began to feel revived and the faint headache that had been developing all afternoon, started to slowly recede with each mouthful.
As an Agatha Christie lover from way back, Virtue’s concept of a modern twist on the classic whodunnit held great appeal for me. But, the novel execution just fell a little flat at times, with weaknesses in pacing and characterisation, e.g. the hotel and the mouth-watering delicacies from its kitchens better realised than many of those under suspicion. However, I was entertained by the many fun, symbolic nods to the masters of the Golden Age detective novel… the locked-room mystery trope, the quintessential colourful, eclectic character ensemble all with elaborate motives for deception, and even the Poirot-inspired reveal.
The Raffles Affair by Vicki Virtue is a light-hearted mystery read best enjoyed with great food and a cocktail.
BOOK RATING: The Story 3.5 / 5 ; The Writing 3 / 5 – Overall 3.25 / 5
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About the Author, Vicki Virtue
Born in New Zealand, Vicki always dreamed about travelling the world and writing about her adventures. At the age of nineteen, she set off on a solo expedition to Africa. Falling in love with the continent and the freedom of travel, she felt a yearning to go further and explore even more far-flung corners of the planet.
Vicki’s advertising career helped power her wanderlust even further, taking her from New Zealand to the concrete jungles of London, Dubai and Singapore. Travel writing soon followed as she chronicled her adventures of more than fifty countries that she had by now visited – from ancient souks in Yemen, to the glaciers of Greenland.
The idea of taking on the formidable task of writing a novel was conceived aboard a glorious dahabiya on the river Nile in Egypt, where the Victoria West series was born.
* My receipt of a review copy from the publisher did not impact the expression of my honest opinions above.